What is an Ex Parte?

  •   |   Meghan Freed

“Ex parte” is one of the legal terms that often comes up when there is an emergency family law issue.

Due process requires that parties are entitled to notice and the opportunity to be heard. This is true in all court cases, including divorce and family law cases.

But in emergency situations, an “ex parte application” provides an exception to the rules of due process.  It allows you to petition the court without prior involvement of the other parties involved in your case.  If the judge grants the emergency motion, the order is only temporary. The court holds a full hearing with all the parties within a short period of time.

In other words, ex parte applications seek immediate, temporary court orders pending a formal hearing with both parties present.

What Does Ex Parte Mean?

Ex parte is Latin for “from one party.”  Often people think it means “emergency.”  This is understandable given that ex parte applications arise out of an emergency.

How are Emergency Applications Filed?

We present emergency motions to the Court along with an affidavit signed by the applicant (the person requesting the Court order).  Then, the Judge decides them based on the application itself without a hearing or prior notice to the Respondent.

What Types of Ex Parte Motions Exist in Connecticut?

The three most common types of emergency motions in Connecticut family law are:

  • Restraining and Protective Orders
  • Emergency Ex Parte Applications for Custody
  • Temporary Injunctions

Read: What Are the Types of Restraining Orders?

Read: How Do I Obtain a Civil Protective Order?

What Should I Consider Before Filing an Emergency Motion?

You will want to discuss the potential impacts of filing an emergency motion with your family law attorney.

First, and most importantly, if you, your child, or anyone else is in potential danger, your first call should be to the police.

After that, topics for consideration with your lawyer include:

  • Does a true emergency exist?

Your attorney can guide you through what circumstances are more or less likely to rise to the level of an emergency.

  • Are there any available options other than an ex parte motion?

For example, if the issues are serious but not time-sensitive, your lawyer may discuss other available pendente lite motions to file either in addition to or in lieu of an emergency application.

  • Potential impacts to the conflict level of your case

Ex parte motions tend to raise the level of acrimony on a case, although your case may already be high conflict.  You might find your lawyer’s take on the impact, given the specific facts and circumstances of your case, helpful.

Next Steps

For more information about Connecticut divorce and family law, check out our Divorce Information and Facts. If you have questions or want to learn more about how our team of divorce attorneys can help you with your divorce, custody, or post judgment issue, please contact us here.

Freed Marcroft LLC

Freed Marcroft LLC