When Temporary Becomes Permanent

At the outset of many a divorce case, the court will enter an order “temporarily” establishing a custody and parenting time schedule. The purpose of any such order is to establish a schedule during the pendency of the litigation and until “permanent” custody and parenting time arrangements can be made.

As a practical matter, the litigation attendant to the creation of a temporary schedule, because it is intended to be a stop gap until later in the case, can sometimes not be paid the requisite attention it deserves. A litigant or attorney may take the approach that any unfavorable parenting time rulings can always be fixed later.

While it is certainly the case that any parenting time and/or custody ruling, especially a temporary one, is always subject to modification, the practical reality is that many times a temporary custody order will end up becoming the permanent order. Simply put, that which started out as temporary becomes the status quo as a case wends its way through our divorce courts. And, once it is the status quo, institutional inertia could easily render it the permanent order.

If you are in the early stages of a divorce, come speak with a member of the Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf LLP matrimonial team before you end up with a “temporary” parenting time ruling that could become permanent.