Temporary Orders

General Information

A temporary order is available while a more extensive legal action is taking place to fill an immediate need. For example, while spouses are involved in a contested divorce, one may request temporary maintenance from the other before a final decision on maintenance and property division is made by the court to establish monetary issues post-divorce. The types of temporary orders available are:

  1. Temporary Maintenance (alimony)
  2. Temporary Child Support
  3. Temporary Child Custody
  4. Temporary Child Visitation (and/or timesharing)
  5. Temporary Injunction or Restraining Order



Temporary orders for maintenance are intended to preserve the status quo between the parties (or support the lower income spouse) while the more extensive proceeding is pending. See Horvath v. Horvath, 250 S.W.3d 316 (Ky. 2008).

Temporary orders for maintenance and child custody allow the parties and children to maintain close to the standard of living established while the marriage was fully intact.

Temporary custody orders determine who will make the decisions concerning the child’s upbringing while the action is taking place.

A temporary visitation order sets a specific child visitation schedule.

A temporary injunction or restraining order offers alternative forms of relief. For example, it may be requested to prevent one party from entering the marital residence, or it may prevent one party from recklessly spending money in a shared bank account that will later be divided through the divorce.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • In what types of proceedings are temporary orders available?
    • Temporary maintenance is available in divorce, legal separation, annulment, and certain other actions following a divorce. See KRS 403.160(1).Temporary child support is available in divorce, legal separation, annulment, and child support actions. See KRS 403.160(2).

      A temporary child custody order is available in a divorce, legal separation, annulment, and child custody proceeding. See KRS 403.280.

  • How can I obtain temporary relief (maintenance, child support, child custody, etc.)?
    • In all cases, the person seeking a temporary court order must file a motion with an accompanying affidavit setting forth the factual basis for the motion. See, e.g., KRS 403.160(1). The other party may challenge the motion and then the court will hold a hearing to determine who is entitled to what.
  • What is a “Pendente Lite” Order?
    • A Pendente Lite Order is a Temporary Order. It is simply another way of saying the same thing. “Pendente lite” is a Latin term meaning “while the litigation is pending”.
  • Is it easier to obtain a temporary order during a divorce action than a “permanent” order that is to be enforced after the divorce is granted?
    • In general, yes. It is easier to obtain relief (as in, the court may require less proof) via a temporary order than it is to obtain the same award to be applied post-divorce. The court may require less information from the requesting party and/or hold fewer or shorter hearings before concluding that the requested relief should be granted. This is largely because the request for temporary relief is only a small part of the greater divorce action, and the court cannot devote significant resources to such a concern.However, the court will require that certain facts be made known to the court establishing the requesting party’s eligibility for the relief requested. See, e.g., KRS 403.160(2), which describes the minimum information that must be included in the affidavit accompanying a request for temporary child support.
  • Once entered, may a temporary order be revoked or modified? When does it end?
    • Yes. A proposed temporary order may first be challenged by the other party, assuming it is granted, it may later be revoked or modified on a showing of the facts demonstrating a change in circumstances. KRS 403.160(6)(b).A temporary order automatically terminates when the final decree is entered in the case or the action is dismissed. KRS 403.160(6)(c).
  • What happens if the other party does not comply with a temporary order?
    • The person seeking enforcement may move the court for a Show Cause Order, which demands that the breaching party show good for the failure to comply with the temporary order. If no good or reasonable cause is provided, the court may hold the breaching party in contempt of court and award attorney’s fees to the person seeking enforcement. See KRS 403.240.