A lot of people ask me about getting in front of the judge as quickly as possible for their legal issues. This is especially prevalent in custody cases. Depending on the judge who your case is assigned to it would make more or less sense to file for emergency orders. In California, litigants may file for emergency hearings called Ex Partes. Ex Parte hearings must truly be an emergency because you are literally skipping the line in front of other litigants who have filed regularly noticed hearings. To skip in front of these others you need to have significant facts constituting a real emergency.
In custody cases, the Family Code is very clear about what constitutes an emergency.
A court has authority to grant or modify an order for temporary custody on an emergency basis only in the following two circumstances (Family Code 3064(a))
- An immediate threat of harm to the child;
- An immediate threat of removal of the child from the state of California.
The term immediate harm means includes but is not limited to parents who have committed acts of domestic violence (recent or continuing pattern) or the child is at risk of being sexually abused. (Family Code 3064(b)).
So the basis for an ex parte is quite limited. Notice is also a very important factor in this. Because little to no notice is required the Court is required to have you back in for a hearing within 15-20 days if the ex parte is granted. If you have a case where there is an emergency situation, involving custody or otherwise, please do not hesitate to contact my Los Angeles family law firm Land Legal Group and we will discuss your options with you.