Contact us whenever you need it!

phone

+1 855 997 0206

Contact Hours: Sun-Sat 8am - 10pm ET

LEGAL DICTIONARY

Ex Parte

What Is Ex Parte?

The Latin term ex parte translates to "from one party" in English. The term is used in legal ethics and civil procedures.

In an ex parte decision, a judge does not require all of the parties involved in a dispute to be present in court.

In ethics cases, ex parte refers to the breach that may occur due to improper contact with one of the parties involved in a case or with a judge.

For example, ethical rules usually prohibit a lawyer from contacting the judge or the opposing party without the other party's lawyer being present. A breach of that rule is called improper ex parte contact.

In civil cases, ex parte refers to legal motions for orders that do require a response from the other side before being issued. Typically, these orders are in place only until further hearings can be held. An example of a civil ex parte is a temporary restraining order.

What Is an Example of Ex Parte?

Ex-parte orders might occur during a divorce case when immediate action is needed. These would be orders that benefit only one party, and there is no time to notify the other party. Examples include:

  • An ex parte order to prevent one party from harassing or being near the other party (also called a temporary restraining order)
  • An ex parte order to prevent one parent from taking a child to another state or another country
  • An ex parte order to prohibit one party from removing or selling assets

How to Respond to an Ex Parte?

Ex parte motions are only made with careful consideration. The reason is that ex parte motions can run the risk of violating the party's right to due process under the law as guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

If you face an ex parte order, it is important to be prepared for what the order says, how it can affect your legal case, and what steps you can take. You may need to speak to a lawyer to fully understand your rights.

Sometimes a lawyer will submit documents and evidence for the court to review as part of a request for an ex parte order. If the court issues an ex parte order against you, you must attend the next scheduled hearing in order to argue against it. In some cases, you may be able to file a written response.

If you fail to appear at the next hearing, the judge can decide to turn the temporary order into a permanent one.

If both parties are present at the hearing, the court will hold another hearing (typically within 21 days) where both parties need to be present. At that next hearing, the judge will determine if the ex parte order should become permanent.

Although most states allow ex parte procedures, they vary in some of the ways they are handled, including how much notice must be given to the other party and whether a written response to an order is satisfactory.

Ex parte should be distinguished from the legal term "inter partes," which is Latin for "between the parties." For example, in an inter partes custody hearing, both parents have advance notice of the date and time of the hearing, and both are required to attend.

Helpful Resources:

Cornell Law - Ex parte

Library of Congress - Fifth Amendment

Library of Congress - Fourteenth Amendment

Hawaii Courts - Why Can’t I Talk or Write to the Judge?

Her Lawyer - How to Respond to an Ex Parte Motion in California

What Is Ex Parte?

The Latin term ex parte translates to "from one party" in English. The term is used in legal ethics and civil procedures.

In an ex parte decision, a judge does not require all of the parties involved in a dispute to be present in court.

In ethics cases, ex parte refers to the breach that may occur due to improper contact with one of the parties involved in a case or with a judge.

For example, ethical rules usually prohibit a lawyer from contacting the judge or the opposing party without the other party's lawyer being present. A breach of that rule is called improper ex parte contact.

In civil cases, ex parte refers to legal motions for orders that do require a response from the other side before being issued. Typically, these orders are in place only until further hearings can be held. An example of a civil ex parte is a temporary restraining order.

What Is an Example of Ex Parte?

Ex-parte orders might occur during a divorce case when immediate action is needed. These would be orders that benefit only one party, and there is no time to notify the other party. Examples include:

  • An ex parte order to prevent one party from harassing or being near the other party (also called a temporary restraining order)
  • An ex parte order to prevent one parent from taking a child to another state or another country
  • An ex parte order to prohibit one party from removing or selling assets

How to Respond to an Ex Parte?

Ex parte motions are only made with careful consideration. The reason is that ex parte motions can run the risk of violating the party's right to due process under the law as guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

If you face an ex parte order, it is important to be prepared for what the order says, how it can affect your legal case, and what steps you can take. You may need to speak to a lawyer to fully understand your rights.

Sometimes a lawyer will submit documents and evidence for the court to review as part of a request for an ex parte order. If the court issues an ex parte order against you, you must attend the next scheduled hearing in order to argue against it. In some cases, you may be able to file a written response.

If you fail to appear at the next hearing, the judge can decide to turn the temporary order into a permanent one.

If both parties are present at the hearing, the court will hold another hearing (typically within 21 days) where both parties need to be present. At that next hearing, the judge will determine if the ex parte order should become permanent.

Although most states allow ex parte procedures, they vary in some of the ways they are handled, including how much notice must be given to the other party and whether a written response to an order is satisfactory.

Ex parte should be distinguished from the legal term "inter partes," which is Latin for "between the parties." For example, in an inter partes custody hearing, both parents have advance notice of the date and time of the hearing, and both are required to attend.

Helpful Resources:

Cornell Law - Ex parte

Library of Congress - Fifth Amendment

Library of Congress - Fourteenth Amendment

Hawaii Courts - Why Can’t I Talk or Write to the Judge?

Her Lawyer - How to Respond to an Ex Parte Motion in California