Family Court Reform Blog
WHAT IS EX PARTE? WHAT IS EX PARTE USED FOR IN CUSTODY FIGHTS?
We, the citizens of the United States, are in desperate need of help in order to change the laws governing the use of EX PARTE. Since these laws are statutes written at the state level we are particularly focusing this plea to individual state lawmakers.
WHAT IS EX PARTE?
In Latin Ex Parte means "On one side only." Ex Parte is used by lawyers in situations in which only one party, always the accuser, appears before a judge. In many situations this type of meeting is obviously forbidden because it alienates the rights to be heard by the accused. In child custody cases it allows unscrupulous lawyers and even abusers to by-pass normal custody routes and remove children without a Constitutionally protected hearing or even any valid evidence.
So well known is the abuse of ex parte in family courts that the National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges Family Violence Department published a Judicial Guide to Child Safety in Custody Cases in 2008 that educates judges that “a parent who uses tactics of coercive control may find litigation to be an effective means of controlling the other parent”, specifically the “Abuse of the ex parte process” should be watched for & steps taken to protect the at-risk parent not the abuser.
Normally a judge is required to meet with all parties involved but there are circumstances where this rule does not apply. A judge is allowed to meet with just one side, ex parte, when the plaintiff requests emergency temporary orders, or ex parte, without hearing from the other side. This occurs in situations when time is limited or the court sees no reason to hear the other side of the dispute. A valid example of a good use of ex parte would be if a wife is enduring violence at home, the court can immediately issue an ex parte order to protect her from her husband. After he's out of the home the court will hear his side via a hearing. At this time the court can make the decision decide whether the ex parte order should be made permanent.
In custody battles it can be a very valauble tool for the treacherous who put their desire to win ahead of the best interest of the children. This tactic is so widely used in family custody battles that it is even taught in DIY articles online that educate people on how to manipulate your spouse to give in when discussing child support or marital division of properties in a divorce on websites like e-How:
A portion of the site states - "An Ex Parte child custody order in your favor is a huge bargaining chip to force your spouse to the table if they are at all concerned about being with the children. Remain level-headed and calm because it is the just the beginning of what may turn out to be a long and fretful ordeal, especially for the children involved. If the dividing of assets is a paramount concern, you can use those to reach a settlement in the case and agree to maintain the Status Quo of child custody unless there are other extenuating circumstances. If your spouse decides to challenge the Ex Parte order (a costly endeavor) at least you will be the plaintiff and a strong offense is usually the best defense."
If you think that the parent must be guilty you are wrong and if you assume that Ex Parte could never happen to you - remember - the only difference between you and this family is that no one has came for your children yet.
WE ASK YOU - IN HONOR OF THE CHILDREN WHO CAN'T PROTECT THEMSELVES - CALL YOUR STATE LEGISLATORS TODAY AND MORE EMPOWERING THAN THAT - REGISTER TO VOTE! AND USE THAT POWER TO PUT LEGISLATORS IN OFFICE WHO CARE ABOUT OUR CHILDREN AND PUT JUDGE'S ON THE BENCH WHO PROTECT THE CITIZENS AND THE CONSTITUTION.