Asking for a Temporary Decision Before a Divorce Trial

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Getting a trial date for a divorce case can take months or even a year or more. But some issues cannot wait until the trial. Therefore, a spouse can ask a judge to make a temporary decision on these issues.

Two Kinds of Requests

They are called applications:

  • To settle an urgent situation, a spouse can ask for a safeguard order. The application for a safeguard order can be included with the application for divorce. A safeguard order is good for up to six months and then can be renewed. 
  • A spouse can also ask for provisional measures to settle situations that are not urgent on a temporary basis until the divorce. The application for provisional measures can be included with the application for divorce. Provisional measures are usually in place until the divorce decision.

A spouse can do these things: 

  • ask only for a safeguard order to settle urgent situations 
  • ask only for provisional measures to settle situations that are not urgent 
  • ask for both a safeguard order and provisional measures at the same time 

Preparing the Application

Applications for a safeguard order and for provisional measures include this information, among other things:

1. A short description of the spouses, their family situation and what has happened in the file up to this point

Example: 

On March 12, 2017, the spouses stopped living together.

The parties have two children:

  1. Lavoie, Marie-Pierre, born on December 2 . . .

2. What the spouse is asking for and why

Example: The applicant (spouse making the request) is asking for sole custody of the children because he has always been very involved in their lives . . .

3. If a spouse asks for a safeguard order, a few lines explaining why the situation is urgent

4. Conclusions

Example: For these reasons, the applicant asks this court to grant him sole custody of the children . . .

5. What the spouse wants the judge to order.

Example: The applicant respectfully asks the court to order the following:

  • Award sole custody of the children to the applicant.
  • Award visiting rights to the defendant (other spouse) from Saturday 10 a.m. to Sunday 6 p.m. every second weekend.
  • Order the defendant to . . .

6.  Place, date and signature of the spouse or the law firm representing the spouse

These documents MUST be included with the application

Affidavit

An affidavit is an official written statement.

In the affidavit, the spouse must state before an authorized person (called a commissioner for oaths) that everything the application says is true. Then the spouse signs the affidavit. 

To find a commissioner for oaths, see the Justice Québec website.

Summons and Notice of Presentation 

A summons is a notice to the other spouse saying that an application has been made and that the spouse must answer it within a fixed time period. It is attached to the application and must be in a form approved by the ministère de la justice.

The notice of presentation is a notice to the other spouse saying when and where the application will be presented to a judge. 

If the spouse is asking for support payments for himself, the notice of presentation also mentions that the other spouse must complete Form III: Statement of Income and Expenditures and Balance Sheet. 

If the spouse asks for child support payments, then the application must include these documents:  

If the spouse is asking for support payments for himself, then the application must include these documents:

Some people can get free or low-cost legal services through legal aid. See Legal Aid: Do I Qualify? for more information.