What is Emergency Ex Parte Custody?

Blue border with “Emergency Ex Parte Custody?” in black lettering and the gold Freed Marcroft LLC divorce and family law attorneys logo in the lower right corner.“Ex parte” is one of the legal terms that often comes up when there is an emergency custody 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 “emergency ex parte custody application” provides an exception to the rules of due process.  It allows the court to rule on your application without the other parent’s advanced, normal involvement.  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.

Read: What is an Ex Parte?

How are Emergency Ex Parte Custody 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.  Ex parte custody applications seek immediate, temporary orders, pending a formal hearing with both parties present.

When Does a Custody Emergency Exist?

You will want to discuss with your family law attorney whether your particular facts and circumstances are likely to be considered an emergency.  Generally speaking, people file ex parte applications for custody when they believe emergency orders are in the best interests of the child, because there is an immediate and present risk of physical danger or psychological harm to the child.

For example, emergency ex parte applications for custody may be filed if:

  • a parent is under the influence of drugs or alcohol during his or her parenting time
  • one parent is psychologically or physically abusing the child, or
  • if there is a concern that one parent will take the child without permission or authority, including internationally or out of state

When Does the Court Rule On An Emergency Ex Parte Application For Custody?

Often judges rule on an emergency ex parte application for custody on the same day that it is filed. If an application is filed later in the day, sometimes the Judge will rule the next morning.  The Court issues written orders, which the applicant must be served on the other side within a defined time period.

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 either here or by phone at 860-530-4221.