At some point during a contested divorce, one party might make a motion. Motion practice is common in family law matters but does not produce swift results. A party might wait weeks or even months for a decision.
Some matters require more alacrity. In cases involving emergencies like safety issues or financial hardship, the Family Court rules allow a capable divorce lawyer to file an urgent motion.
Urgent motions require proof of the emergency, and the party bringing the motion must follow specific procedures. Our Kawartha Lakes urgent motions lawyer at The Riley Divorce & Family Law Firm understand the proper use of this legal tool and could employ it on your behalf.
The court schedules a case conference within a few weeks after a party initiates a divorce action. In the interest of efficiency, courts prefer that the parties use these conferences to bring up and resolve any issues rather than bring motions. However, Ontario Regulation 114/99 Rule 14(6) allows the courts to entertain urgent motions if you need a resolution before the next scheduled case conference.
Urgent motions should be reserved for situations that could be true emergencies. If a situation threatens a party or children with physical or mental harm, it could form the basis of an urgent motion. Hardship, such as lacking the financial means to meet basic needs such as shelter, food, and electricity, could also justify an urgent motion.
Gathering adequate proof to support an emergency motion and presenting it requires experience and skill. A seasoned Kawartha Lakes urgent motion lawyer knows what evidence is persuasive and how to make a compelling case that will sway the court to your point of view.
Basic fairness requires that legal proceedings give all parties the right to be heard. Urgent motions are no different. Most urgent motions require prior notice to the other party, although the law allows a judge to consider an emergency motion without notice to the other party in rare instances.
However, even when the judge decides an emergency motion without notice, the law requires the other party to receive notice after the fact. The procedural requirements are precise and rigid. Working with an experienced legal professional on your urgent motion in Kawartha Lakes could ensure that you meet all procedural requirements.
A petitioner typically must serve the other party when bringing an urgent motion. They must file the request for an urgent motion with supporting documents at the courthouse and receive a date when the court will hear the motion. The moving party then must serve the respondent with copies of their motion and supporting documents and the court’s notice of hearing.
The respondent must receive service of the document at least six days before the hearing, and the movant must file proof of service at least four days before the hearing.
Sometimes it could be dangerous for the other party to know about an urgent motion, or the matter requires resolution immediately and cannot wait for the petitioner to give notice. In that case, a court might agree to a request for an emergency motion ex parte, which means outside the presence of the other party.
For example, if the other party has been violent toward the petitioner when they exchange children for visits, the petitioner could bring an ex parte motion requiring exchanges to occur at a police station or other safe, neutral zone. The petitioner’s sworn statement will make clear that they fear for their safety and require an order before the next scheduled exchange. The court will review the petitioner’s evidence supporting the motion and decide based on the documents. If the court grants the motion, it will issue a temporary order requiring public exchanges that takes effect immediately.
The court will also schedule a hearing on the motion allowing the other side to present their case, usually within 14 days. The petitioner must serve the other party with the court’s temporary order and notice of hearing at least six days before the hearing.
Managing all the documents you need to bring an urgent motion could be a daunting task. Once you have filed an urgent motion, going to court to prove your case could be intimidating. Enlisting the help of a skilled legal professional like Paul Riley ensures compliance with procedures and relieves you of the stress of presenting your case to the judge.
A Kawartha Lakes urgent motions lawyer could see you through this stressful process and give you the best chance of success. Reach out anytime to speak with a dedicated legal practitioner.
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