The laws regarding child custody orders and their filing procedures vary across the United States depending upon the jurisdiction, but some states provide forms which can make it relatively easy to apply for a temporary child custody order. The state government website can be a good source of both filing information and forms. Separating spouses who are able to maintain an amicable relationship during the divorce and child custody proceedings may be able to draw up temporary custody agreements on their own and without a court hearing or a need for an attorney, as noted by the Law Dictionary website.
Temporary court orders typically remain in effect until another hearing is held or until the parties involved reach a new agreement. In some cases, a quickly obtained temporary child custody order is required to prevent a spouse from running off with the children. Those filers who may be facing a crisis can usually get their hearing placed on a fast track, and should file at their jurisdiction's family court as soon as possible to preserve their right to keep the children, as recommended by attorney Ken LaMance writing for the LegalMatch Law Library.
The Law Dictionary website advises that parents who are separating draw up and file temporary custody agreements so that the upcoming divorce proceedings can follow a previously defined path with regard to the children and avoid future conflicts. Most sources of legal advice recommend that a family law attorney be consulted or retained in situations which carry the potential to become stressful for either the spouses or the children.