Getting a court trial date for a divorce can take months or even years. But some important questions really can't wait until then.
Issues That Can't Wait Until the Divorce Trial
Here are some examples of decisions that might have to be made while you wait for the divorce trial:
- custody and access (visiting) rights
- child support payments
- spousal support payments, including bills and debts like mortgage payments that one spouse wants the other to pay on a temporary basis
- who gets to use the house or apartment
- who gets to use the furniture in the house or apartment
- how to keep one of the spouses safe, for example through a court order forbidding one spouse from harassing the other
Court Decisions Before a Divorce Trial
A spouse who wants a court decision before the divorce trial can make two kinds of requests:
- a request for a safeguard order
- a request for provisional measures
|A judge will hear the request in . . .||a few days or a few weeks.||
10 days, but it usually takes a few months*.
*Depending on the courthouse
|A judge will hear the request if there is . . .||an emergency.||a need for a temporary decision before the final divorce decision.|
|At court . . .||
There is no trial.
Since this is an "emergency," the judge makes a decision based only on
There is a trial.
Each spouse (or each spouse represented by a lawyer) can
|The judgment lasts . . .||six months maximum.||
until the divorce trial.
Therefore, a spouse can ask for the following:
- a safeguard order to get a temporary decision concerning an emergency only
- a safeguard order and provisional measures to settle the emergency and get a decision that will apply until the trial
- provisional measures if there's no emergency but the spouse still needs a decision that will apply until the final decision
How a Temporary Court Decision Affects the Final Divorce Decision
The judge who hears the final divorce trial does not have to follow what other judges have decided in earlier safeguard orders and provisional measures.
The judge can make a final decision that is completely different from earlier decisions on the same issues. For example, the final decision on the custody of children doesn't have to be the same as the decision made by another judge at the provisional measures stage.
But judges usually consider other judges' decisions.
DID YOU KNOW?
Some people can get free or low-cost legal services through legal aid. See Legal Aid: Do I Qualify? for more information.
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.