Restraining Orders

What is an Ex Parte Order and Do I Need One? by Cassandra Hearn

Custody and divorce proceedings often feel urgent to the spouses and parents involved.  The dissolution of a marriage or separation of a couple brings concern about upheaval and uncertainty, and the situation can feel like it needs immediate attention from the court.  Some situations may call for emergency action.  Such action can take the form of an "ex parte" order.

An ex parte order means that the person applying for an order believes that his or her situation is an emergency that requires the court to sign an order immediately and then hold a hearing on the issues at a later date to decide if the order should remain in place.  California rules of court 5.151 address some of the basics of ex parte orders, including the purpose of the hearing, and service requirements.  The rule points out that the purpose of an ex parte order is to provide an order for a matter too urgent to wait for the court's regular docket.  An ex parte order will provide a shorter amount of notice to the other party than a regular motion.  It should be noted that issues regarding domestic violence are governed by other provisions. 

Rule 5.151 lays out that the purpose of an ex parte order are to 1) prevent imminent danger or injury to the parties' children; 2) prevent immediate loss or damage to property; 3) make orders concerning procedural matters such as speeding up the time table for a hearing, lengthening the time for service, or continuing the trial.  The common factor here is that in each of these situations, failure to grant a request for an ex parte order would result in a type of harm that cannot be later remedied.  The key here is that there must be some sort of an emergency.  An ex parte order is not to be used simply because one or both parties wants to speed up the proceedings and is in a hurry to get the order entered.  Accordingly, whether you need an ex parte order will depend on the individual facts of your case.  You may need an ex parte order if, for example, your children are in imminent danger with the other parent, or the other spouse is about to squander or destroy a large portion of the marital funds.  Each situation is different, and you should carefully discuss all of the facts of your case with your attorney before deciding to request emergency relief from the court.

Emergencies do sometimes come up in family law matters.  Let us help you with your emergency and in resolving your case.  Call us today at (619) 800-0384 for a consultation.