When a couple is getting a divorce, important decisions can become complicated, especially if there are children involved. Child custody requires extensive planning and forethought. In a typical child custody case, the courts look into a variety of things regarding both parents in order to make a decision that is focused on what is best for the child (or children). Both parents are involved in making this decision. However, there is a circumstance known as an ex parte custody order, which allows for court proceedings involving only one parent or guardian to take place without notifying the other.
What is an ex parte custody order?
An ex parte custody order happens when one parent files a legal document with the court in order to get custody of the child, without notifying the other parent of what is happening. Ex parte requests are reserved for imminent and dire emergencies. Some examples of what the courts consider an emergency are situations where the child is at risk of being abducted by the other parent or is suffering from mental or physical abuse. Requesting an ex parte custody order essentially means you formally ask the judge to make a decision immediately, regardless of the other cases the judge had scheduled for that day. Ex parte requests should be reserved for the most utmost emergencies, where the well being of the child is in real danger. If you are confident that the situation requires immediate action and an ex parte custody order is the course of action you need to take, then you need to make sure your homework is done so you can act swiftly and efficiently.
What to do before, during, and after the hearing.
In an average child custody case, both parties are aware of the court date and all of the details. In an ex parte case, one party files the required documents known as “pleadings”, with the assistance of an attorney. The most crucial part of this step is to make sure you have an attorney well versed in family law and knowledgeable on ex parte cases. Since courts in the same state can be very different from one another, make sure your attorney is familiar with the specific court you will be appearing at. Doing your homework is vital. When you arrive at court, sometimes they will have already made a decision based on your pleadings alone. Occasionally, they will want to hear an oral argument from the petitioning party. After the hearing, the ruling will be made in writing.
Here at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri, we understand the importance of settling child custody cases amicably. We have a strong reputation in San Jose and Santa Clara when it comes to helping families with custody cases of all kinds. Contact us today at 408-553-0801 or fill out the form here for a free 30 minute consultation, and allow one of our experienced attorneys to help guide you in the next steps to take for your family.
Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.