What Is an Ex Parte Custody Order in California, and When Do You Need One?

What Is an Ex Parte Custody Order in California, and When Do You Need One?An ex-parte custody order can be obtained without waiting for the other parent to respond to your request. Your spouse or co-parent may not be given notice of the hearing. These hearings are used in child custody cases when a parent believes emergency relief is necessary to protect their child.

Reasons for Asking for an Ex-Parte Custody Order in California 

The reason for an ex-parte custody order must be explained in the motion filed with the court. The facts presented to the court must be sufficient to convince the judge that an emergency exists that creates an immediate danger of irreparable harm to your child. 

Because your ex-partner does not have an opportunity to defend themselves against your allegations before the court issues an order, judges reserve ex-parte custody orders for true emergencies. 

Reasons why a judge might issue an ex-parte custody order include, but are not limited to:

  • There is a credible threat that a parent intends to take the child to another state or out of the country without permission 
  • There are allegations of child neglect, physical abuse, or sexual abuse
  • There is credible evidence proving the other parent is guilty of domestic violence
  • The parent refuses to allow the petitioning parent to exercise visitation or see their child
  • A parent is unfit to have custody of their child because of a mental health condition, drug addiction, alcoholism, or a similar condition

Ex-parte orders are temporary orders. The court issues an emergency order to protect the child from immediate harm. Then, the court schedules a full hearing to determine whether to continue the temporary order or change the terms of child custody.

Other Reasons Why Someone Might File for an Ex-Parte Order From a California Family Court

In addition to filing for temporary child custody, you might file for emergency relief for other reasons. Common reasons why someone would seek a temporary emergency order from the family court include:

The Threat of Irreparable Harm to Finances or Property 

A judge might grant temporary relief if you prove that your spouse intends to deplete marital assets or destroy property. For example, you have evidence that your spouse is about to liquidate marital assets, destroy property, or conceal assets from the court. Temporary ex-parte orders can prohibit a spouse from incurring additional marital debts, such as taking out another mortgage on your home.

Domestic Violence or Abuse

Judges often issue protective orders after an ex-parte emergency hearing. The judge might determine that holding a full hearing without granting some basic protections could result in harm to an abused spouse. 

However, protective orders may also contain other terms related to custody, support, and possession of the marital home. A protective or restraining order can significantly impact a person’s rights. Therefore, the judge may schedule a full hearing within a few days or weeks to hear arguments from both sides.

How Do I Request an Ex-Parte Custody Order in Beverly Hills, CA?

There must be a pending divorce case or family law case to request an ex-parte order. Your attorney prepares and files a petition or motion with the court. The document explains why you need emergency relief. 

If the judge finds justification for an ex-parte order, they might grant the request immediately. The judge could also require an ex-parte hearing before granting relief. In either case, your ex would not be notified of your motion or the hearing until after the judge issues the order. 

Receiving an ex-parte order begins with the arguments in the emergency motion. Judges do not grant these orders except in exceptional cases. Therefore, you need to work with an experienced Beverly Hills child custody attorney who can prepare a compelling argument that meets all the criteria for an ex-parte order. 

What Happens After a California Family Court Issues an Ex-Parte Custody Order?

The temporary order is served on your spouse. If your spouse refuses to comply with the order, the court can take further action. For example, if the court grants you sole temporary custody and your ex-partner refuses to turn over your child, the judge could issue an order for their arrest.

The court schedules a full hearing and notifies your ex-partner. They can prepare a defense to the allegations. You and the opposing party present your arguments and evidence to the judge at the hearing.

The judge must decide whether to continue, cancel, or modify the temporary emergency order. The full hearing allows the judge to consider all facts to make a more informed decision on how to move forward. The ex-parte order is only necessary when there is an immediate threat to the child that cannot wait until the court schedules a full hearing and gives your ex-partner the required notice.

Contact a Beverly Hills Child Custody Lawyer for Help If You Need an Ex Parte Order

Emergency orders are necessary to protect individuals in specific situations. Contact us at (310) 271-6290, one of our experienced Beverly Hills child custody attorneys at Berenji & Associates Divorce Lawyers Family Law Attorneys will provide a consultation to discuss how we can help you get the relief you need from the family court.