What does Ex Parte mean?
Ex-Parte, meaning “done with respect to or interests of one side or of an interested outside party,” is a legal term that is also applicable in child custody. First, who is entitled to custody?
If a parent and a nonparent disagree about who must have guardianship over the child, the court, after examining the case, can allow the parent to have custody for the child’s best interests. However, if the other party can show that the parent is unfit for child custody, the court can withdraw the applicant’s rights.
The judge can also award custody to someone elsewhere if both parents are unfit or no longer exist. They’ll also hand over the child’s care to the Department of Human Resources, where the court cannot find another person to look after the child.
Additionally, one parent may have the legal right to be responsible for the child’s care or upbringing if the other parent is dead or unwilling to take charge.
It’s also important to note that most states award custody to the biological mother for children aged five or less when the parents’ divorce or separate.
Ex Parte Custody Order
So, it’s possible to seek an ex parte custody order in court against another parent. When the court grants you an ex parte custody order, it means that you’ve got temporary emergency custody while at the same time denying the other party the right to look after the child. The court does not need to hear the other parent’s counter-arguments against your ex parte because it’s solely relying on your testimony that the child is at risk, physically and psychologically. As a result, the judge doesn’t notify the other party when it awards you the temporary emergency custody order.
Role of the Ex Parte Custody Order
When the justice system issues an ex parte order, it’s doing so because it doesn’t have all the information from both parents to decide the right course of action for the child’s best interest. It entirely depends on your sworn statement or affidavit about the child’s current circumstances. With this ex parte order, the judge intends to have a future hearing with both parties concerned before determining the child’s appropriate custody arrangement.
How To Get an Ex Parte Custody Order
You can file for child custody and requests the court to award you with an emergency ex parte order of custody if you’re concerned that your child’s life is in danger. Depending on how much evidence you provide the court, nothing can stop the judge from granting your request. What’s critical is to offer water-tight evidence at the time of application.
Once the judge has granted you the ex parte order, they’ll schedule a hearing within 14 days. Five days before the hearing, the court will notify the other party. During the hearing, the other parent can explain their reasons for objecting to your ex parte order. It’s only after their arguments that the court can decide whether to continue with the order or not.
What To Expect If the Judge Turns Down Your Application
Even if the court doesn’t immediately grant one parent the ex-parte order, it’ll still schedule another hearing. When the court is satisfied with all the information both parents have provided, the judge has the authority to grant a temporary emergency order for child custody to protect them from any perceived harm. For further investigation, the judge may turn over the matter to the Department of Children and Families.
Ex Parte Custody Provisions
In addition to providing temporary child custody or violation rights, the ex parte order mandates the parent (respondent) not to:
- Relocate with the child to another state
- Encroach on the parent’s rights over the child’s custody
- Stand in the way of the child’s education
- Behave in a way that puts the child at risk