What is an Ex Parte Order?

Updated on April 25, 2022
Updated: March 29, 2022

Emergencies happen every day, in every part of the world. The Illinois court systems also experience emergencies, through things like spousal abuse, child abuse or endangerment, and stalking cases to name a few. Temporary custody is the most often approved ex parte request, but also the most often rejected. There is no guarantee that your motion will be granted, and requested evidence often differs from judge to judge. 

If you are a domestic violence victim or asking for emergency custody to protect the health and wellbeing of minor children, you cannot leave anything up to chance. Leaving your safety up to the whim of a judge may find you in physical danger. When your safety is up in the air, you need to rely on the experience and expertise of the unmatched attorneys at Tommalieh Law. 

What Does "Ex Parte" Mean?

Latin, meaning "from one party", Ex Parte motions in civil or criminal courts refer to a motion from one party granted by a judge, without waiting for a response or comment from the opposing side. While courts are normally very hesitant to grant ex parte motions for fear of violating the excluded party's 5th amendment rights, there are some emergency situations in which these motions will be granted. 

For example, in cases regarding familial, spousal, or child abuse, a judge may grant ex parte orders for emergency restraining orders and temporary emergency custody orders. These emergency orders are only temporary, until both parties can be present in court, and are normally only granted if the requesting party can prove they are in immediate and imminent danger of bodily harm. Court dates could be scheduled within days or could take months, but your ex parte motion is normally good until your next day in court, where it can be reevaluated, dropped, or renewed. 

What Could Qualify a Person to Request an Ex Parte Motion to be Granted?

In order to file an ex parte motion, your lawyer will want to look over all of your evidence to make sure that your motion is likely to be granted. Because judges are often hesitant to grant ex parte motions, attorneys will often only file one if they are sure they will win. For example, if you are filing for a temporary restraining order against your ex-partner for physical or psychological harm, but have no proof or evidence, your lawyer will most likely advise you against filing for a temporary restraining order as you will most likely just be wasting your time and money. 

However, if you have police reports with documented abuse, photographic evidence, video or audio evidence, and witnesses to the domestic abuse, your lawyer will likely advise you to file for a temporary restraining order. 

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When minor children are involved, judges are also often hesitant to grant emergency protective orders or temporary child custody motions. More often than you might think, parents use the courts as a weapon against their ex-partners during custody battles, which makes it hard for judges to tell who is being honest or not. That is why it is so important to provide as much evidence as you possibly can. While anyone can ask for an ex parte motion to be granted, without proper evidence there is no judge that will allow your motion to stand. 

If you are comfortable enough, speaking to a therapist may be extremely helpful mentally for yourself and any minor children, but also can provide good evidence in court for your motion. Therapists, with their patient's permission, often speak in court to judges to provide evidence they have gathered from sessions, in an attempt to help their patients escape abusive situations. Therapist testimony is often used in emergency custody situations, as children are very observant and will often recant events to the therapist extremely accurately. This can help your motion immensely. 

What if My Ex Parte Motion was Denied? 

Sadly, many valid ex parte motions are rejected every day, leaving domestic violence victims and young children in harm's way and at risk of physical or psychological harm. If your motion was ruled in violation of the other party's due process rights or rejected due to lack of evidence, there isn't much you can do but bide your time, collect more evidence, and try to keep yourself out of harm's way. This is why it's so important to get it right the first time, since you only have so many chances, and the longer it takes to be granted, the longer you have to wait before you can begin to feel safe again. 

With an experienced lawyer on your side, you'll have peace of mind knowing your attorney will make sure you have everything you need to make sure your motion is approved before you ever file it. This is especially important when it comes to child custody situations, as often children are unable to protect themselves or stand up for themselves, and rely on those around them to ensure they are safe and taken care of. In abuse situations, victims with minor children, who may also be victims, often have more evidence of the abuse than they realize. 

Related: How to Appeal a Custody Order

Contact Our Firm With Help With Emergency Custody Orders

When it comes to your safety or the safety of minor children, you cannot hesitate. Emergency child custody arrangements are hard to get, but not impossible. Ex parte motions save lives every day and can be the difference between life and death for victims of abuse.

With our team on your side, the experienced family law attorneys at Tommalieh Law in Illinois are ready to help you stand up against your abuser and help you regain a sense of self and safety. We will do everything we can to ensure that your safety is always guaranteed and that you and any minor children can rest easy and begin the process of healing. Call us today for a free consultation, and let's begin our journey together. 

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