What is a Temporary Hearing in Family Court?

What is a Temporary Hearing in Family Court?

Family Court Temporary Hearings, which are governed by Rule 21 of the South Carolina Rules of Family Court, are used to get provisional rulings on the issues during a pending Family Court case. They typically take place just a few weeks after an action in Family Court is filed. Temporary Hearings are used in almost all private actions when some issues might be contested, such as actions for divorce, child custody, visitation, paternity, legal separation, and child support.

Although these rulings are only temporary, they are significant because the parties are only entitled to one temporary hearing (unless there is a substantial change in circumstances) and because they set the stage for negotiations.  For example, if one party is awarded custody at a temporary hearing, it becomes difficult to engage them in negotiations regarding a share in custody. Certain decisions, such as  jurisdictional decisions and findings of paternity, are essentially final. Therefore, it is imperative that Temporary Hearings are taken very seriously and attorneys often dedicate significant time and effort to prepare for them.

Rule 21(B) outlines the rules for Temporary Hearings.  Most significantly, it allows only financial declarations, pleadings, and affidavits to be submitted for consideration.  This means that testimony is not generally allowed and any evidence not submitted in the proper format may be deemed inadmissible.

Rule 21(A) requires that you give the opposing party five (5) days notice of the Hearing. Often these Hearings have been scheduled for weeks, which gives the requesting party a definite advantage in preparation.  Furthermore, as long as the five (5) day notice was properly given, the Court will rarely grant requests for a continuance based on a need for more time for preparation.  Finally, it is not required that you serve the evidence you intend to submit prior to the Hearing.


Please remember that each case is unique. If you have any questions about this blog “What is a Temporary Hearing in Family Court?” or Family Law in general, we urge you to contact us.  In order to be flexible and convenient, we have open office hours, easy appointment scheduling, and payment plans available. Call today and schedule your free confidential consultation.

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