Each county in California handles an ex parte child custody hearing differently – even from courtroom to courtroom in the same county. The court generally takes approaches an ex parte emergency child custody matter in one of two ways: 1) reviewing the pleadings and issuing a ruling on them without hearing oral arguments; or 2) reviewing the pleadings, listening to the argument, and then making a ruling.
This makes it very important to hire an experienced Central Valley child custody attorney who knows the local practices and practices from courtroom to courtroom.
Decisions Based Reviewing Pleadings Only
Some family law judges take the approach of assuming everything in the declaration of the moving party is true and issuing a ruling based solely on the moving papers. In this type of approach, the litigants submit their pleadings either several days prior to the hearing or on the day of the hearing. The court will have reviewed the paperwork by the time the parties show up for the ex parte child custody hearing. In this approach, the court will typically have a ruling on the emergency child custody order when by the time the parties are present in court.
Decisions Based on Pleadings and Argument
It is the customary practice of some California courts to review pleadings in ex party child custody matters but then wait to make a decision after hearing arguments from the parties at the hearing.
In most cases, this practice is preferred when the court needs more clarification from the moving party or wants to hear from the other parent for an explanation. Whatever the reasoning may be, the arguments at the hearing will impact the court’s ultimate ruling.
After the Hearing
Regardless of how the judge comes to his or her decision, the ruling on the ex parte child custody hearing will be made in writing and recorded on what is currently the California Judicial Council Form entitled “Temporary Orders.” If order is granted, the court generally refers the parties to Child Custody mediation under California Family Code Section 3190. After going to mediation, the parties will need to return to court for a hearing. The parents will have a chance to tell their side of the story before the judge makes his or her decision.
Call an Experienced Central Valley Family Law Attorney
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with Central Valley family law attorney Gurjit Srai, please call (209) 323-5558 or (559) 449-1447, or complete our online form.