How to Prepare an Ex Parte Motion

Parties use ex parte motions to expedite a court case. If the court grants the motion, the ex parte schedules the hearing for an earlier date and only one party needs to be present for the judge to adjudicate the case. Courts generally reserve ex parte motions for emergency situations or uncontested matters. Emergency situations include child endangerment, spousal abuse, elderly issues or mental capacity. In these cases, getting into court quickly is important and in the best interests of the parties involved.

Download the ex parte application forms from the relevant court website. Some courts have one form, while others have separate forms for the type of case. For example, California has different ex parte applications for domestic issues, guardianship, property and other civil cases. If you are unclear which form to use, go to the court clerk's office and they can help you.

Complete the ex parte application package. Standard information for the main form includes parties' names, case name, relevant court and reason for ex parte application. Fill out and notarize an affidavit stating your detailed reasons for requesting the ex parte motion. Include a proposed order that states what you want the judge to do and the court to enforce. Draft the order so it is ready for the judge's signature. Also, include a list of witnesses that you want subpoenaed to testify at the hearing.

Read More: What Happens at an Ex Parte Hearing?

File the form and pay the appropriate fee in the court clerk's office. The clerk will notify parties of the ex parte motion hearing date.

Serve the completed package to all relevant parties. Some states allow notice by telephone, but most require mail, fax or in-person delivery. You can hire a process server for a small fee to deliver the papers.

Attend the hearing on your motion, if necessary. Be prepared to state your case to the judge including witnesses' statements and other evidence showing why she should rule in your favor. Some jurisdictions do not require hearings. In this case, wait for notification from the court regarding the outcome of your ex parte application.


  • Review your local court requirements since rules and regulations vary.
  • Hire an attorney. Documents required for ex parte applications can be complex and require professional experience.

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