What is a temporary child custody order?


Divorce and child custody orders can take a long time to finalize in court. In fact, some child custody cases go on for years before reaching a final decision.

If you and your spouse can agree on a child custody agreement while your divorce is pending, that will make things much easier for everyone involved. If that is not an option, however, you may want to file for a temporary custody order (TCO) instead.

How can a TCO help me?

A TCO can offer benefits such as child support or spousal payments while you wait for the courts to finalize your case. According to the Texas Family Code, a judge can award any of the following items under a TCO:

  • Temporary custody and visitation
  • Temporary child support payments
  • Payment for attorney's fees
  • Restrictions around relocating the child
  • Restrictions around upsetting the child

This type of order can be helpful in cases where you have your children full time but are not receiving child support payments yet. Additionally, a TCO may help with obtaining health insurance for your child if needed. Keep in mind, however, that this temporary order is only applicable until the judge rules on the final order.

What is the process to receive a TCO?

In order to receive a TCO, you must file a Motion for Temporary Orders with the court. The judge will decide when a hearing will take place.

The purpose of the hearing is to allow both you and the other party to express your concerns. The judge will consider any evidence you bring with you when deciding whether to award the TCO. The judge then decides and either approves or denies your motion.

A TCO is a temporary order and you or the other party may change or challenge it at any time.

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