The second stage of most divorce cases starts with the financials first, where you have all your financial disclosures that need to be done on both sides. It’s a lot of work and for some people it’s the most difficult part of the case, because they hate dealing with finances. So it’s just something that has to be done. It usually takes a couple of months, and the idea is that you disclose everything so that by the time you settle the case everybody knows what the finances are, what the assets are, what the debts are, and they can make a decent settlement out of it.
There is one exception to step two being the financial issues and getting all the disclosures done, and that’s if there’s an emergency. What kind of emergencies might there be? Domestic abuse is always an emergency. You might need a protection order. That needs to be dealt with immediately. An emergency involving the children … One party has taken the children and they’re not letting the other party see the children. That’s an emergency. The courts consider it an emergency, and they will get you in fast. Even if it’s one of those counties that’s overloaded, they will still get you in fast on an emergency basis if you are being kept from seeing your children.
One thing it’s important to note. You would think that a financial emergency would get that same kind of treatment; but, in fact, it does not. What’s a financial emergency? Your spouse has taken all the money out of all the accounts; they’ve shut down all the credit cards. You don’t have a job. You’re a stay-at-home parent. That’s a financial emergency. The courts, however, do not get you in on an emergency basis for that. That’s why pre-planning ahead of time to deal with finances is so important so that you’re not left waiting two, three months before you get into court to get temporary child support or temporary maintenance.
So emergency … children, domestic abuse. Not an emergency … financial considerations. It’s ridiculous, but it’s the way it works. Those are your emergency hearings.