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What is an emergency or ex parte motion in family law and what happens at one?

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What is an emergency or ex parte motion in family law and what happens at one?
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CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
Ministry of the Attorney General

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What is an emergency or ex parte motion in family law and what happens at one?
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Reviewed: 
July 1, 2018
Answer

If you want the court to make a temporary order about some of the issues in your case, you can bring a motion. A motion is a where a party asks a judge to decide specific issues before a trial.

Usually, you have to wait until after you've had a case conference before you can bring a regular motion. You don't have to wait if you and your partner agree and want the court to make a consent order.

There are two other types of motions that you can bring in very few situations if you need a temporary order quickly before a case conference:

The difference between these two types of motions is whether you give your partner notice. Notice means that you serve your partner with your court documents for the motion and they have a chance to respond before a judge makes a decision.

You can bring these motions at any time during your court case, even before you've had a case conference and sometimes before you start a court case.

There are Family Law Rules that tell you what is needed at every step in a court case. Rule 14: Motions for temporary orders tells you what you need to do to bring a motion.

This family law court process flowchart explains each step in a family law court case. If you're making the motion, you're called the moving party. Your partner is called the responding party.

You can talk to a lawyer who can help you with your motion. If you can't afford to hire a lawyer for your whole case, some lawyers provide "unbundled services" or "limited scope retainer" services. This means you pay them to help you with part of your case.

If you can't afford to hire a lawyer at all, you may be able to find legal help in other places.

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