Ottawa Urgent Motions Lawyer

A motion is a petition to the court asking for a ruling on a particular matter. Courts have congested dockets, and in many cases, a party might wait months for a decision on a motion. In cases involving familial disputes in Ontario, courts typically discourage motions before the parties have a case conference.

Some family law matters affect the immediate well-being and safety of spouses and children, however. The court will hear an urgent motion if someone is in harm’s way or a potential emergency exists, and the court believes it could resolve or improve the situation. When you find yourself in such a situation, consult with an experienced legal professional such as Paul Riley. An Ottawa urgent motions lawyer recognizes the importance of using the tool wisely and in accordance with the rules of the court.

When Is an Urgent Motion Appropriate?

Urgent motions are extreme remedies that carry specific procedural requirements. In contested divorce proceedings, Ontario Regulations 114/99, Rule 17 requires courts to hold a case conference after both parties have submitted their initial pleadings. Depending on the court’s calendar, weeks or months might pass before a judge can add a conference to their docket.

Ottawa courts expect the parties and their legal representatives to argue motions and present other outstanding issues at the case conference. However, some situations are too volatile to leave unaddressed until the case conference. The court will entertain an urgent motion under such circumstances. An urgent motion might be merited if your partner:

  • Threatens or commits violence on you or your children
  • Flees or is preparing to flee the jurisdiction with your children
  • Gambles heavily with joint funds, encumbers marital assets, or empties bank or brokerage accounts
  • Abuses alcohol or drugs while caring for your children
  • Exposes the children to criminal activity
  • Exposes the children to an inappropriate person, such as a convicted sex offender

Other situations could also justify expedited action. A knowledgeable Ottawa lawyer can advise you on whether your circumstances justify an urgent motion.

The judge’s ruling on an urgent motion is temporary. The parties can explore and argue the issues again at the case conference, and the judge might issue a revised order in response. Also, if the court finds the matter was not urgent and could have been addressed at a case conference, it could assess the party bringing the motion court costs.

Remedies Available Through Urgent Motions

Ontario Court Rules 114/99, Rule 14(2) provides a remedy to urgent situations. A well-practiced urgent motions lawyer in Ottawa could advise which action might be most appropriate and effective in your specific case.

Ex Parte Motions

When a matter is of the utmost urgency or notifying the other party is dangerous or impossible, the court could hear a motion ex parte, meaning it only hears from one side. The party seeking an ex parte hearing must present evidence that this extreme remedy is appropriate in their situation.

The court might hear an ex parte motion if you have proof that your partner plans to leave Ontario with the children. If the situation involves domestic violence or child abuse, the court might proceed ex parte to issue an order protecting the people who are threatened. When the court holds an ex parte hearing, it typically schedules another hearing within a short time, allowing the other party to be heard on the issue.

Preservation and Non-Depletion Orders

If you request an urgent motion and can prove the other party is dissipating the marital assets or endangering your interest in the marital property, the court could issue a non-depletion or preservation order. These orders might freeze a financial account, restrain one party from selling an asset, or take other necessary steps to protect both parties’ financial interests.

Consult With an Ottawa Urgent Motions Lawyer on Your Case

When you are contesting a divorce and believe you require an urgent motion, speak with a qualified legal professional as soon as possible. Courts require substantial proof of the urgent situation; if the proof is inadequate, the judge might compel you to pay court costs and the other party’s attorney fees. If your partner is seeking an urgent motion against you or has been granted an ex parte order, retaining capable legal counsel immediately is critical.

An Ottawa urgent motions lawyer provides robust advocacy in court. Paul Riley is available 24/7 to discuss your matter, so do not delay. Call now to speak with a seasoned lawyer about the specifics of your case.

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