When the court issues a divorce decree, the order provides for final relief as to child custody, financial support and property issues. However, in many cases, it is necessary for the court to make provisions in the interim, while the divorce is pending. For example, if a divorce begins in March and the final decree is entered in September, the court may need make an order for interim relief to be followed by the parties between March and September. This is called a temporary order, or order for temporary relief.
If there is a child custody dispute, and a custody evaluation is undertaken, the parents must have a temporary arrangement to abide by in the mean time. If the marital residence is going to be sold to provide both spouses money needed to buy a new home, the court may need to decide which spouse may reside in the house while it is listed and marketed. In many cases, the spouses reach agreement on the interim terms, in which case the court issues a stipulated order for temporary relief.
The temporary order expires when the final decree is issued by the court. Some of the terms from the temporary order may carry over into the final decree, and others may not.