Common Terms in Family Law

If you’re not familiar with legal proceedings, they can be both confusing as well as intimidating. To cut through this confusing, here are some common terms you might see on the court document you either file or receiving when involved in a family law case.

Ex Parte Hearing

An Ex Parte hearing is an emergency procedure that takes place outside of the court’s regular calendar schedule. The purpose of such a hearing is to gain immediate orders in an emergency situation until the matter can be scheduled on the regular court calendar. Normally, before a motion can be heard a party must receive notification. An Ex Parte must be requested by 10:00 a.m. on the day prior to the schedule hearing by the party requesting emergency relief. Ex Parte hearings should only be used in the case of true emergency situations. The Ex Parteprocedures differ throughout family courts. A party can only appear Ex Parte in the court where his or her case is currently filed. And if no case is filed in any court, the party must appear in the proper court that is decided based on where he or she lives.

Order to Show Cause (OSC)

An OSC is a request for a judge to make orders in the party’s case regarding child custody and visitation, attorney fees, modifications of previous orders, temporary support and other family law matters. Once an OSC is filed with the court, it is served on the opposing party. They are ordered to appear at a hearing in order to determine whether or not the judge will grant the requested relief. The opposing party is then given an opportunity to reply and explain why or why not the request should be granted.

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