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Family Court Temporary Hearings


This information is not legal advice. Consult with an attorney for legal advice. Contact our Summerville Law Firm if you would like to request a consultation with one of our family law attorneys. 


  • At the temporary hearing (also called a pendente lite hearing), a Family Court judge will generally decide how things will be until a final hearing is held. In almost all cases, the judge will not hear any live testimony. Rather, the judge will only consider pleadings, affidavits, financial declarations, and very brief arguments from the parties' attorneys (or a party if he/she is self-represented). An affidavit is a written (preferably typed) statement, signed under oath in front of a notary public. Generally, we are limited to only eight pages of affidavits (excluding exhibits). You may click the button below to learn how to prepare an affidavit for a South Carolina Family Court hearing, and take a look at an affidavit template. 


  • At a temporary hearing, each party is basically seeking the same relief (help/result) they would seek at a trial, but on a temporary basis.


  • The Supreme Court now limits the number of pages of affidavits for each party to eight (8) (except in certain, more complex cases), not including attachments/exhibits offered as verification of information contained in the affidavits, and other required forms. 


  • Affidavits filed at the temporary hearing need not be served on the other party prior to the hearing. Because of this, temporary hearings are sometimes referred to as "trial by ambush." This means that the other party may not see your materials prior to the hearing, and, likewise, you may not see what the other party will present to the court until you are already in the courtroom. 


  • Temporary orders are just that- temporary. This means that they only last so long as the case is pending or, occasionally, until another temporary order is entered (if there has been a substantial change of circumstances which warrants a second hearing, or by agreement). 


  • Temporary orders are also supposed to be "without prejudice" which means that the temporary order should not carry any weight at the trial and cannot be used as evidence. However, in practice, the outcome of temporary hearings can have a significant impact on how the case is resolved. For example, if one parent is awarded primary custody on a temporary basis, he or she will have an opportunity to show that they can be a successful single parent during the time between the temporary and final hearings. 


  • Because temporary hearings can be so important, both in the long and short term, expect to spend significant time and effort preparing for your hearing. 


  • Click here for information on how to prepare an effective affidavit. 


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