Ex Parte or emergency orders must have a basis; i.e. there must be an emergency. Emergency child custody requests are appropriate where there is a threat of violence, child abduction, or other circumstances where the child is facing imminent risk of harm. In cases involving domestic violence, an emergency child custody order is appropriate when there is recent domestic violence or there is a pattern of domestic violence. In cases where there is a need for an order that does not involve imminent risk of harm to the child, the court can shorten the time to set a hearing.
Ex Parte Child Custody Order
What is an ex parte child custody order? What does ex parte mean?
An ex parte child custody order is an emergency request to modify child custody. You would file for one when it is impractical or impossible to wait the minimum statutory period for the court to hear a regular motion. A court will only grant ex parte relief for good cause. Good cause being a demonstration of irreparable harm, immediate danger, or some other statutory basis for granting relief.
Requesting an Ex Parte Child Custody Order
Before you can seek ex parte child custody order to modify child custody, you must notify all parties not later than 10 a.m. the court day before the intended ex parte appearance. You must tell the other person the following:
- The nature of the relief be requested;
- The date, time, and place that an application will be made for relief.
In addition, you must attempt to determine whether any other party will appear to oppose the relief you are requesting.
Ex Parte Documents
You must submit a declaration with your application. Your declaration must be a factual showing of the need for ex parte relief. Your declaration must also describe the notice given to the other party. Notice must include the date, time, manner, and name of the party informed and whether it is expected that anyone will appear and oppose.
Opposing an Ex Parte Child Custody Order
A party opposing an ex parte child custody order application can do so orally without filing a written opposition. However, it is helpful to state in writing the reasons for opposing in the event the judge has time to consider the request before hearing arguments. Opposing papers may be filed directly with the clerk of the department on the morning of the hearing.
Serving Ex Parte Documents
The parties appearing at the ex parte hearing must serve each other with documents at the first reasonable opportunity. In some circumstances, this may mean that the exchange could take place the night before the hearing. Most often, the application is not completed until after business hours the day before the hearing. Therefore, the first reasonable opportunity may not be until the morning of the hearing. The court will not conduct a hearing unless the parties have had the opportunity to read each other’s papers.
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