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Emergency Court Orders

Tip: Temporary relief often resembles the final divorce or separation judgement, so consider your request carefully even though you may be able to go back to the court later.

Divorce or legal separations may take time - a long time. You may find that you need financial support while the process is being completed. Here's how the Court can help you by granting temporary (pendente lite) or emergency relief (ex parte).

Pendente lite or temporary relief requires filing a written request with the Court. Do this when your file your case or right after. You can ask the Court for:

  • Child custody, child support or visitation

  • An order prohibiting taking children from the state or country

  • Permission to move away with the children

  • Alimony or maintenance

  • Medical or other insurance coverage for you and your children

  • Payment of your attorney fees

  • An order prohibiting either partner from selling marital assets - like the house!

  • An order requiring an abusive spouse to move out

  • An order protecting you and your children from abuse.


Ex parte is used only in emergency and doesn't substitute for regular motions. Save it for when you learn your spouse has tickets to leave the country tomorrow or plans to change the beneficiary of a life insurance policy to someone other than you. The court will entertain an "ex parte" motion, which means you can ask for court action right away and without notifying your spouse. Once you receive the order, your spouse has the right to respond, but can't take whatever action you feared.

Actions When Divorcing

What To Do First
3 Ways to End Your Marriage
Learn Your Divorce ABC's
Find and Maintain Your Lawyer
Managing Your Lawyer
How To Avoid A Court Trial
If You Choose Mediation
If You Choose Arbitration
If You Choose Collaborative Law
How To Prepare For Alternative Dispute Resolution
If You Choose To Go To Trial
"Knowledge Is Powerful" Check List
Who Gets What Where
Know What Your Marriage Is Worth
Pensions: 12 Worst Mistakes Lawyers Make
7 Key Questions To Ask About Retirement Benefits
Divorce and the Military
Hidden Assets and How To Find Them
Taxes And Divorce
Divorce and Dividing Debt
When To File For Bankruptcy
Protect Your Credit Rating
What About Your Children?
Emergency Court Orders
Appealing or Modifying Your Final Divorce Decree
Financial Transitions of Divorce
Divorce and Hard Assets
Divorce and Soft Assets

10 Ways To Feel Better Fast
How Friends And Family Can Help
Join A Group
Handle 'Divorce Anger'
Keep a Journal
Do You Need A Religious Divorce?

Ways To Move On