Ex parte requests are used for emergency situations. Generally speaking you must file your RFO and wait in line about a month or two for a hearing. An ex parte allows you to jump to the front of the line, so to speak. Its kind of like going to the emergency room. If someone has a life threatening condition then they jump to the front the line.
In order to be granted you must convince the Court that “great or irreparable harm” will result if the orders are not granted. Keep in mind most ex parte requests are denied because there is no great or irreparable harm. The request may be valid in that it would be granted on a regularly filed RFO, but unless it meets the standard, the judge cannot grant it.
Ex parte relief does not require formal notice, for that reason the types of relief that can be granted are highly restricted. Notice must be give no later than 10:00 a.m. the day before and the person giving notice must include the address, time, court room number if known and the specific relief/orders being requested, and that they have a right to appear. If the request involves domestic violence then notice must be given no less than four (4) hours prior to the time the motion is presented to the judicial officer. Noticed may be waived if the requesting party can show good cause as to why notice was not given.
Custody and Visitation:
” (a) The court shall refrain from making an order granting or modifying a custody order on an ex parte basis unless there has been a showing of immediate harm to the child or immediate risk that the child will be removed from the State of California.
(b) “Immediate harm to the child” includes, but is not limited to, the following:
(1) Having a parent who has committed acts of domestic violence, where the court determines that the acts of domestic violence are of recent origin or are a part of a demonstrated and continuing pattern of acts of domestic violence.
(2) Sexual abuse of the child, where the court determines that the acts of sexual abuse are of recent origin or are a part of a demonstrated and continuing pattern of acts of sexual abuse.” California Family Code Section 3064
If you file an ex parte domestic violence restraining order and it is granted, then the temporary order will not last more than 21 days, 25 days on showing good cause. The Court will also give you a date for a prove up/formal hearing when the Court will consider whether to make it a permanent restraining order which can last up to three (3) years. If the requesting party is not ready to proceed at the prove up/formal hearing then it will be dismissed. If the requesting party has not served the restraining order on the other party, the temporary order will either be reissued or dismissed.
Generally financial issues like seeking child support or spousal support are not ex parte. However, there can be occasions where “great or irreparable” harm would result if certain financial issue are not dealt with immediately.
Ex parte requests can be filed for discover motions, request for continuance, order shortening time, or other procedural matters. However, again, just because something can be filed is a totally different issue as to whether it will be granted. These requests are frequently denied for failure to meet their burden of great or irreparable harm.
Community Property Issues:
Generally division of these are not appropriate for ex parte filing. The Court’s jurisdiction to adjudicate property arises at the time of trial.