Child custody requests in family law are very common and often involve the following scenario:
Parent A wants to obtain a certain custody order for their child. Parent B wants a differing order. Parent B is granted the order they requested. Parent A doesn’t like this, so Parent A decides on going another route – filing ex parte. Parent A has heard that ex parte requests are heard faster by the Court and are granted often and without the presence of the problem (the other parent). All Parent A needs to do is show the Court that they need their order granted – that this is an emergency. But the Court does not grant Parent A’s ex parte request. What went wrong?
The California Family Code specifies how a Court decides child custody orders. Parties can either file a Request for Order, which is the usual, non-emergency route, or they can file an ex parte request. If an ex parte request is granted, it allows for the requesting parent to be heard without the opposing side and for temporary orders to be in place pending an evidentiary hearing. But the justice system doesn’t favor this type of process, as it offends the notion of justice.
So, the requesting party must present credible evidence to the court that the child will suffer immediate harm or that there is a legitimate risk that they will be removed out of state in the near future. Immediate harm to the child includes acts of domestic violence, sexual abuse, neglect, and other instances of child endangerment, among other things. But parents beware – exaggerating the circumstances surrounding your child’s care could have serious legal and personal consequences. The Court does not take these allegations lightly (and neither does the other parent).
So, should you file for an ex parte child custody order? If you believe you can prove your child is in immediate danger, then you may have good reason to do so. Since ex parte orders are often complex and fact-dependent, however, it is always a good idea to consult a family law attorney before going forward with your case. The experienced family law attorneys at Butler Law, PC can help you with ex parte requests and responses. Contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation!