Attorney Gregory S. Forman explains that at a temporary custody hearing, the court uses affidavits, pleadings and financial documentation to determine the short-term custody arrangement between parents. If one of the parents can prove extenuating circumstances, the court may also allow testimony to be heard during a temporary custody hearing. The temporary custody order is in effect until a permanent custody arrangement is determined at trial.
Nolo.com notes that a temporary custody hearing may take place in a courtroom or in the judge's chambers. During the hearing, the judge examines the affidavits and financial documents provided by both parties and reviews the custody arrangement being requested. The judge may ask each party questions concerning the affidavits or arrangement requested and may provide a temporary ruling on child support in addition to the temporary custody judgement. In some cases, the judge may determine that one parent did not receive proper notice of the hearing and may pass a judgement that is valid only until another hearing is scheduled.
Prior to a temporary custody hearing, each parent must draft a statement, or affidavit, that is approximately four pages long describing why each is the best parent to have temporary custody, as the Vitetta Law Group explains. This affidavit must be supported by a suggested four one-page affidavits from third parties. To maximize effectiveness, the supporting affidavits must corroborate the parent's affidavit.