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Shawn Bible - Lawyer in NW Georgia

What is an Ex Parte or an Emergency Order in the context of a divorce case?


In many cases, at the time the divorce is filed, the filing party may also ask a judge for an Ex Parte Order.  An Ex Parte Order is simply an order which is granted without the other party being present.  This is often done in cases where there are minor children.  The typical Ex Parte Order will give one party custody of the minor children and possession of the marital home pending the Temporary Hearing (the first hearing).  When an Ex Parte Order is granted, that order will be filed along with the Complaint for Divorce and served upon the other party at the same time as the Complaint of Divorce. Ex Parte Orders are usually only in effect for a few weeks until a Temporary Hearing where both parties are present and can be heard by the court.

I give several scenarios below of occasions when such an order might be necessary:

A Wife and mother of young children has been the victim of domestic violence during the course of her marriage and fears what actions her husband might take when served with a divorce. Among her fears are that her husband might abscond with the children and leave the jurisdiction of the court.

A husband and father of young children is afraid that his wife who has substance abuse problems will endanger the children by driving a motor vehicle while under the influence with the children and/or fail to properly supervise the children due to her substance abuse issues. The husband wishes to have court order so that his wife will have supervised visitation with the children and will not be allowed to drive a motor vehicle with the children in the car with her.

Husband and wife have a bad relationship and cannot agree on anything. They still reside in the same home and neither can agree on who shall remain in the marital residence during and after divorce proceedings.  One or both them believe it will not be possible for them to reside in the same home while the divorce is ongoing.

Above are just a few of the scenarios in which an attorney might request a Ex Parte Order prior to filing a complaint for divorce.

The party who is served with such an order will have a right to be heard by the court within a reasonable time.  The court may upon hearing testimony and evidence maintain the provisions of the Ex Parte Order or the court may modify its provisions after hearing both sides.