Child custody issues are some of the most common and most stressful problems that we see here at Dhanu Dhaliwal Law Group on a regular basis. And while we love helping families all over British Columbia solve their family law problems, chances are you’re not as keen on this sort of thing as us.
Because of the stressful and complicated nature of it, child custody cases often take months or even years to finalize. In many cases though, parents have immediate concerns about the wellbeing of their children that cannot wait this long.
An interim order can help alleviate this issue for you.
What is an Interim Order?
Interim orders are a type of temporary court order. They are made after a case has started but before it ends, as a way to deal with an urgent problem that can’t wait for a trial to resolve. Usually, this urgent problem involves an issue with custody, an important issue that supersedes other logistics in your divorce.
When you go through this process, your temporary custody will either last until another interim order is made or until your case is resolved.
Interim orders deal with a wide range of issues, including:
- stopping someone from dealing with family property
- preventing the children from being taken out of town
- deciding where the children will live
- deciding if interim support should be paid by one party to help the other with expenses
These orders are not meant to be final in any way – you will still need to come to an agreement or go to trial to put long term custody plans in place.
Interim family orders deal with the same issues that final family orders do. For example:
- parental responsibilities
- parenting time
Interim orders also deal with procedural matters (things that have to be done by a certain time or in a certain way). For example, the court might order that your spouse has to give you financial information by a certain date.
You can also apply to change an interim order if you’re not happy with it.
If you’re applying for temporary custody in Supreme Court, the application for an interim order might be called a Chambers application.
How to Apply for an Interim Order
If you want to apply for an interim order in Provincial Court, you should seek the advice of an experienced family lawyer first.
Legal Aid BC has resources you can use to apply for temporary custody on your own.
They have resources for interim family orders if you and your spouse already agree and resources for if you and your spouse disagree.
Please know that going down this path alone, especially if your spouse does not share your opinions or is making the process difficult for you, can be a daunting task.
If You and Your Spouse Agree
If the two of you are on the same page about custodial matters, you can give us a call or apply using the resources provided.
If You and Your Spouse Disagree
If you cannot come to an agreement about your interim order, or if you are applying for temporary custody specifically because of an issue caused by your spouse, you will need to go to a Judicial Case Conference (JCC) before you can apply for it.
If the two of you can agree about things during a JCC, the judge can make an interim order and you won’t have to apply for one.
How to Change an Interim Order
It is always possible to change an interim order; however, you should be mindful of why you are unsatisfied.
A court won’t change your order solely because you are unhappy with it – if you’re unhappy with an interim order, you can try to sort something out with your spouse, or get a trial as quickly as possible.
You can apply to the court to change the interim order if you are unable to sort something out, or if you cannot wait for a trial, for example.
(Remember though, if you can’t wait for a trial, you will need a good reason.)
Turning an Interim Order into a Final Order
Although an interim order is meant to be temporary, you can always implement elements from it into your final order (No, not the bad guys from the latest Star Wars movie).
A final order is a record of your judge’s final decision. It is meant to apply to both spouses in a family law case. When it’s made, it’s usually meant to last forever – so make sure you are satisfied with what it entails.
If you have an interim order, and you and your spouse agree about what’s in it, you can ask the judge to make that order final.
When you make an agreement in this way, the order’s called a consent order.
Your Real Life Legal Solutions
Interim orders are really helpful for spouses looking to solve specific custodial issues quickly, before their divorce is finalized.
If you are looking to get your own interim order, give us a call or fill out our contact form. We’re here to help whenever you need it!