When you are going through a divorce, the process and the time that it takes can be frustrating, particularly if you are concerned about physical safety, or if you suspect that your partner is hiding or disposing of assets. Fortunately, in some emergency situations it is possible to have an “ex parte” hearing before the court to receive immediate relief.
What is an Ex Parte Hearing?
An ex parte hearing is a hearing that occurs without notice. During divorce proceedings, this means a hearing that happens before a judge without notice to the other party, usually asking for an emergency order. California Family Code section 2405 governs ex parte orders and allows them for:
- Restraining orders to keep someone from transferring, concealing, encumbering, or disposing of property.
- Protective orders excluding someone from a home or enjoining abuse or some other behavior.
When is an Ex Parte Hearing Used?
An ex parte hearing is used for emergency orders. Generally, when you want a hearing before a judge, there is a procedure you must follow that includes an application, a proposed order, and a short description or declaration of what you are requesting. You must notify the other party of the date, time, location, and purpose of the hearing within a specified amount of time before the hearing. If you don’t provide notice to the other party, the court usually won’t hear your request unless notice isn’t required under the California Family Code.
The Family Code doesn’t require notice to the other party if you are filing a request for a temporary restraining order as the victim of domestic violence. The Family Code also permits no notice in certain situations. For example, if you notified your ex-partner that you intend to seek emergency custody and the ex-partner would flee with your child. Or if the other party might hide assets if given notice of a hearing.
If you are going through a divorce or separation in California and believe that you need an emergency hearing, see an attorney as soon as possible.
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