Tips from the Family Law Ex Parte Commissioners: Temporary Restraining Orders

Here are some simple suggestions for entering Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs) in the Family Law Ex Parte Department. Don’t forget to review our previous posts on entering final orders and pointers for earning “gold stars” when you appear before the Family Law Commissioners.

Entering Contested TROs in Ex Parte:

Don’t forget to go to the Clerk’s Office to obtain the “Present in Person” stamp before coming to Ex Parte.

  1. If the other side has appeared or responded, don’t come to court seeking a TRO without talking to the other side and giving them notice. Faxes don’t count as notice, and neither do voice mails or emails, unless you can show that you received an answer.
  2. Remember what you learned in law school:  if you want to improve your chances of prevailing, make it simple.
  3. Try to get to court early in the day if you are seeking a TRO. If you wait until the end of the day, you might not be heard that day.
  4. Make sure that copies you provide are legible and readable.
  5. Using a 12-point font helps a lot, and tell those who are typing their own declarations to use 12-point fonts as well.
  6. Type handwritten documents verbatim, misspellings and all, so the court can read them; attach a copy of the handwritten document for comparison.
  7. For a meaningful declaration from a non-party, explain the non-party’s relationship to both parties, how long they have known the parties, and that their declaration is based on personal knowledge, not hearsay. Please explain hearsay to them. You may receive two gold stars if you follow this suggestion.
  8. Highlight the portions of attachments you believe support your case and argue only the relevant facts. You may have lived with this case while preparing it and know it inside and out, but the court is seeing it for the first time. There is no meaningful time for the court to prepare for your emergency argument. The other side should receive the same benefit of highlighting.
  9. Succinctly point out what relief you are seeking in Ex Parte. Remember that there is a statute about the extent of the relief that Ex Parte can grant; generally Ex Parte does not have the authority to appoint experts, provide for maintenance, child support, or attorney fees, enter a parenting plan, etc. in a Temporary Restraining Order and Order to Show Cause.
  10. If you are seeking an Ex Parte order removing a spouse or domestic partner from the shared residence, you must have a basis. It also is helpful if you can point out what access to resources that spouse has, e.g. friends or family to stay with, access to financial resources, use of a vehicle, etc.
  11. Be sure to include the parenting declaration if children are involved. If you are willing to give the other parent time with the children, please set forth that residential time in the Temporary Restraining Order and Order to Show Cause.
  12. The more complete your order to show cause is, the less time it will take, which saves your client money and frustration.
  13. Don’t forget to sign your order if presenting in person!



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