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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Preliminary Relief

Term Definition Preliminary Relief - relief granted early on as part of a larger action that follows it.
Application in Divorce Preliminary relief often follows a preliminary injunction, which stops one party doing something harmful to another party.

Preliminary relief often takes the form of a temporary order, or a temporary restraining order, which is a pre-trial or interlocutory order of the court prohibiting a party from action. It can be used to stabilize a domestic situation by preventing one spouse from doing something, for example, threatening, harassing, or beating the other spouse and/or the children, selling personal property, taking money out of accounts, denying the other spouse a motor vehicle.

A restraining order may be a preliminary to an permanent injunction. Very often a restraining order -- a court order stating that a person may not do a certain thing -- may order someone to stay away from another person. In divorce actions, restraining orders are sometimes sought by one spouse to try to prevent the other spouse from committing violent acts or stalking the spouse seeking the restraining order.

A protection from abuse order (PFA, as it is called) is a restraining order, and may be granted ex parte.

As it applies to divorce, the term may be applied to actions a court takes related to but separate from granting a divorce, such as the awarding of temporary support.

See also Interlocutory Order or Decree; Pendente Lite Relief; Injunction; Ex Parte Order.

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