1. Figure out if you meet the test

What is an emergency or ex parte motion in family law and what happens at one?
This question has an answer and 5 steps
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1. Figure out if you meet the test

Identify the risk

You can bring an ex parte motion only in very few situations. This includes situations where the delay in serving your partner may have serious consequences and:

  • the situation is urgent
  • you will face hardship if you have to wait to bring your motion after a case conference
  • it is in the "interests of justice" that your motion be heard before a case conference

For example:

  • There is an immediate risk that your partner will seriously harm you or your children, and serving your partner could result in serious consequences.
  • Your partner says they plan to leave the country with your children and not bring them back, and serving your partner could result in serious consequences.
  • There is not enough time to give your partner notice because something serious could happen if the motion is delayed.

You need to convince the judge that your situation is an emergency. You do this by giving detailed, specific information:

  • About your fears and why you think something serious could happen if the motion is delayed because you have to serve your partner. For example,
    • any history of partner abuse or violence against others
    • alcohol or drug abuse
    • history of mental illness
    • times you partner made threats against you or the children and the most recent threats
    • times your partner has taken the children and not returned them
    • information that shows your partner is planning to leave the country
    • information that shows your partner has ties to another country, such as family or property
  • That shows why you can't wait until after a case conference to bring your motion

Think about the orders you want

You may want to ask the court for an order that:

  • you have sole custody
  • prevents your partner from removing the children from the province or country, called a non-removal order
  • tells your partner they cannot contact you or your children, called a restraining order
  • you and your children can stay in or return to the place you were living in and your partner is not allowed on the property, called an order for exclusive possession
  • the police can help enforce the order

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Reviewed: July 1, 2018

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