In Arizona, Temporary Orders allow a party to obtain court orders before a trial is held. It may take months before a trial is set in a divorce case, or in a proceeding to establish legal decision-making, parenting time and child support. Our lawyers handle these cases in Mesa, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Chandler, Arizona.


Temporary Orders are issued  pursuant to Rule 47 of the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure. If the parties cannot agree on issues including exclusive use of the residence, legal decision-making, parenting time, child support, spousal maintenance, relocation, or division of assets and debts, the court will issue orders which are enforceable by the police. The court has 30 days to set a Resolution Management Conference and another 30 to set an evidentiary hearing.


Emergency orders, formally known as Temporary Orders Without Notice, are issued pursuant to Rule 48 of the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure. These orders can sometimes be obtained within a few hours or days. The court can issue orders without notice to the other party if

  • irreparable injury will result to the party or child, or to property, and
  • efforts have been to give notice, or there are reasons notice should not be given


Orders of Protection can be entered in domestic violence cases pursuant to A.R.S. 13-3602 if the court finds that there is reasonable cause to believe a person

  • may commit an act of domestic violence
  • has committed an act of domestic violence with the past year
  • has committed an act more than a year earlier if good cause exists to consider the act

Orders of protection can be obtained within a few hours at Superior Court, City Court, or Justice of the Peace courts during business hours.



It is often difficult for two people in a divorce to live in the same house while the divorce is pending. The court can grant one party exclusive use of the residence while the divorce is pending. After a divorce decree is entered, it will either award the house to a party, or direct the parties to sell the house.


The court can order that one party may temporarily make decisions for children about schools, medical decisions, and religious decisions.


The court can enter temporary orders regarding a parenting time schedule, to include equal time, weekends, and/or holiday parenting time.


A party who is the primary residential parent, or who has the lower income if there is equal parenting time, can receive court-ordered child support while a divorce is pending. There is always a duty of support for minor children, but having a court order sets a specific amount, and allows enforcement.


The court can order spousal maintenance on a temporary basis if one party is unable to support himself or herself.


The Preliminary Injunction usually prevents either party from relocating the children once a petition for dissolution of marriage has been filed. The court can enter an order allowing a party to relocate out of state, even before a divorce is final. After court orders have been entered regarding legal decision-making or parenting time, sixty days notice is sometimes required before relocating pursuant to A.R.S. 25-408.


The court can temporarily order one party to pay the bills and marital debts, or divide the payments, or can award spousal maintenance to accomplish the same result. Liquid assets, such as checking or savings accounts, can also be divided by court order.

This information is for Arizona only. This post is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, contact an attorney.




A young married couple from California have a two-year-old child. Bob has work in computers, building web sites. The parties divorce by agreement or consent decree, and Sarah moves to Mesa to live with her parents. After she is here with the child more than 6 months, Bob moves to Arizona to start up a small company owned by his family. Sarah meets a man, Jim, from California who has been building a successful business there for 10 years. They marry, and a baby is due in a couple of months.

Sarah files a petition to relocate to California.


The parents have joint legal decision-making. Pursuant to A.R.S. 25-408A1, Sarah has to give at least sixty days notice before she can move. The factors the court must consider in deciding whether to allow her to relocate to California are:

  1. Factors from A.R.S. 25-403
  2. Relocation made in good faith or to frustrate parenting time
  3. The prospective advantage for parent’s or child’s quality of life
  4. Likelihood residential parent will comply with parenting time orders
  5. Whether realistic parenting time is possible with the move
  6. Whether moving will affect the emotional, physical or developmental needs of the child
  7. The motive for moving, including attempting to gain a financial advantage for child support
  8. Affect on child’s stability

The best interests of the child is normally to have both parents live in the same state. Even better, they might live in the same neighborhood, or within a mile of each other. Relocation is necessary sometimes. Arizona law recognizes the importance of employment. For example, the impact of a child of having a parent or step-parent who earns $80,000 a year in one state, or $20,000 in Arizona (because they can’t find an equivalent job here) will impact many aspects of the child’s well-being and the family’s standard of living. The dilemma here is that the child will be able to live with both parents in Arizona, or the new baby to be born can live with both parents in California.


The only way for everything to work out is for Bob to relocate to California. Jim’s business and standard of living have far greater value than Bob’s, after 10 years of building a business. Bob was previously employed in California, and can be employed there again. Of course, in reality there are always more factors the court must consider. For example, most of the extended family for Bob and Sarah may live in Arizona. On the other hand, Jim’s extended family may live in California.


Arizona laws greatly impact families in divorce and relocation matters. The way the laws are enacted should be based on sound policy:

Should there be a policy punishing Sarah because she decided to fall in love with and marry someone from another state, causing the dilemma? In other words, should the judge order the child to stay in Arizona? How important to us is the right to marry whom we choose?

How important is employment to a family? Should equal parenting time for both parents be considered over employment?