An ex parte application is a request for the court to make emergency orders . The court cannot grant an ex parte application unless it finds that there is some sort of emergency, and if the court does not grant the orders, serious harm is almost certain to occur. Money is almost never a reason to grant a request for emergency orders.
When a dangerous situation exists, either party may petition the court to make immediate orders. The reason for requesting emergency orders may include drug or alcohol abuse by one of the parents, domestic violence, threats of child abduction, child abuse or neglect. In situations involving domestic violence, special orders may be needed. These are referred to as CLETS orders. An ex parte is usually heard within twenty-four (24) hours. If emergency orders are granted, they are only good for twenty-one (21) days. The parties must then return to court for a full hearing to determine if the emergency orders should be extended or modified. This allows both sides to tell their story through a full hearing involving witnesses and evidence.
Most situations do not rise to the level of a true emergency. Examples of situations which would require the court's immediate intervention almost always involve either child custody or domestic violence. For instance, if a child was going to be permanently removed from the state of California, or if the child was in some sort of physical danger, the court would intervene. Temporary orders are routinely granted when one parent is planning to move out of the state or has threatened to kidnap the children. They are also granted where here is physical abuse in the household, and where one parent has physically attacked, or threatened to attack, the child. Other emergency situations might include one parent being unable to care for the child due to mental illness, threats of suicide, being homeless, alcohol or drug use, or child neglect.
If there is domestic violence in the home, the court would issue temporary custody orders, as well. In fact, if one parent has committed domestic violence within the last five years, it is presume that parent should not have custody of the children. Normally, the court will look to some sort of recent actions before issuing a temporary order on this basis. Recent acts of domestic violence are, in and of itself, a reason for the court to issue temporary restraining orders for an award of custody to the other parent. These are commonly referred to as CLETS orders. If there has been some sort of incident, or a history of domestic violence plus recent threats, the courts will generally err on the side of caution and give the requesting party at least temporary domestic violence orders. These order will include an order that the offending party stay at least 100 yards away from the other party. The court can also include orders for custody, visitation, child support, and spousal support.