Ex Parte Hearings and Emergency Orders in CA Family Court

Ex Parte Hearings and Emergency Orders in CA Family Court

Ex Parte Hearings are sometimes called “Emergency Hearings” because a court mostly hears them in emergency situations. California Family Court judges may issue legal orders as a result of these hearings to protect a child, prevent personal injuries, and for other time-sensitive matters.

California Family Law Attorney Judy L. Burger and her team can represent you and handle the intricate paperwork required for ex parte hearings. Learn more about these proceedings and when “emergency orders” may be warranted.

What Is an Ex Parte Hearing?

Ex Parte is Latin for “from one party.” This describes the request from a single party to communicate and present evidence to the court with little or no notice to other involved parties. Under California law, such hearings are allowed when significant harm is imminent and immediate measures are required to prevent it. This threat of harm may supersede the normal right of the other party to be present and hear the charges or allegations against them.

These hearings are not for simple or even heated arguments or disputes. A pattern of bickering or disagreements is not enough to request an ex parte hearing. There must be an imminent threat of harm where emergency action is required.

In such an emergency, the court may elect to hear the presentation and issue legally binding orders ex parte. This may be in the presence of both or only in the presence of a single party. If both parties are not present, these court orders are completely lawful and enforceable, just as if the opposing litigant were present.

When Would I Request an Ex Parte Hearing?

​An ex parte hearing in CA family court may be requested by anyone who believes there is an imminent reason for a court order and can provide sufficient proof for needing an emergency order. Common reasons to request an ex parte hearing include the following:

  • To Protect a Child: Ex parte emergency orders are typically granted when there are allegations of child abuse, neglect, a threat of abduction, or other similar reasons when a child would need legal protection from serious harm.
  • To Prevent Physical Harm: Ex parte orders can be granted to protect an adult from possible domestic violence or other causes of imminent and serious harm. Preventing a personal injury from a previously violent person is a justifiable cause for an ex parte emergency order of protection.
  • To Prevent Financial Harm: Ex parte orders can also be requested if significant financial harm is imminent, threatened, or otherwise could cause serious loss to the victims. An example would be when one party claims a spouse is willfully destroying joint-owned property or marital assets, leaving the first party without a means of support.

​The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger can help you obtain ex parte orders in family court when imminent danger or other pressing needs arise. Contact the office nearest you for more information and to schedule a consultation.

How Do I Request an Ex Parte Hearing in CA?

​Several legal forms are required for requesting an ex parte hearing in California family court. You must also provide evidence for your request that the court will hear before granting any requests. Following is some of the information required:

  • Formal request for a hearing
  • Identity and contact information for involved parties and/or their attorneys
  • Reasons for an ex parte hearing
  • Any previous requests or orders on this or related matters
  • Any existing child custody, support, and visitation orders
  • Any notice made to the other party of this action or reasons why the opposing party should not be notified

Applicants must provide a full and detailed description of recent incidents showing the threat of or actual harm to a child, other person, or property. The evidence must demonstrate the harm that could be suffered without the requested emergency orders in effect.

A family court may grant ex parte orders on the evidence of filed paperwork alone, or they may request some oral testimony or other evidence.

Get Help from a California Certified Family Law Specialist

Judy L. Burger is a CA Certified Family Law Specialist with extensive experience in ex parte hearings and related matters. She can explain more in a confidential consultation and take swift action to request such hearings when warranted. Contact the closest location of The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger when threatening domestic circumstances arise and you need advice and assistance.

What Is an Ex Parte Hearing?

What Is an Ex Parte Hearing?

Regardless of the circumstances, divorce and legal separation are difficult for everyone involved. Sometimes, however, they can be particularly stressful, such as when there is a threat of violence, danger, or significant financial injury.

Fortunately, the California judicial system has in place a procedure to deal with circumstances like these quickly: ex parte hearings.

Ex parte hearings are simply emergency hearings. Depending on a court’s caseload, it can take weeks or even months to get a hearing before a judge.

Ex parte hearings are designed to reduce that time drastically. However, they are only available for true emergencies, when there is a threat of
irreparable harm or immediate danger. Examples of factual circumstances that may warrant an ex parte hearing include the following:

  • child visitation or custody rights with a parent who leads a dangerous lifestyle;
  • a threat of grave injury to a couple’s children; and
  • a valid concern about depletion of community funds from a joint account.
An application for ex parte relief must be supported by very strong evidence of future irreparable harm or immediate danger. For example, exposure of a young child to alcohol and drugs could warrant an application for an ex parte hearing. Likewise, the prior acts of a spouse wiping out community funds from one bank account would likely warrant ex parte relief to prevent him or her from doing the same thing with other accounts.

In most cases, the person against whom an order will operate, usually the other party to the divorce or custody proceeding, has a right to notice before an ex parte hearing is held. This is because the judge may order relief that contravenes that person’s rights, such as the right to visitation or the right to access his or her own money. However, when absolutely necessary, notice may be avoided. This is only true if providing notice will result in immediate, irreparable harm.

Care must be taken when requesting ex parte relief. If it is requested unnecessarily, it can affect the court’s view of the parties in future proceedings. Judy Burger is experienced in presenting ex parte issues in the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento areas. If you believe ex parte relief may be needed in your case, contact her today at (415) 259-6636.