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interlocutory decree

n. a court judgment which is temporary and not intended to be final until either a) other matters come before the judge, or b) there is a specified passage of time to determine if the interlocutory decree (judgment) is "working" (becomes accepted by both parties) and should become final. Interlocutory decrees were most commonly used in divorce actions, in which the terms of the divorce were stated in an interlocutory decree, which would be in force until a final decree could be granted after a period of time (such as one year after serving the divorce petition). The theory was that this would provide for a period in which reconciliation might be possible and would also test the efficacy of the original order which might be changed upon a motion of either party. Interlocutory decrees of divorce have been abandoned as a procedure in most states, because they seldom had the desired effect and appeared to waste the parties' time.

The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications