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November 25, 2016

In Connecticut, divorces, post judgement motions and child custody issues can sometimes take months or even years to be resolved. Experienced divorce lawyers who practice in Westport, Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan and who are faced with an issue in a case that requires immediate court intervention will consider applying for a restraining order, protective order or temporary injunction. These “emergency motions” are often the most efficient way to get a temporary decision on a time-sensitive issue; they are usually presented to the Court along with an affidavit signed by the applicant (the party requesting the relief) and decided based on the Application itself (without a hearing) on an ex parte basis (without notice to the Respondant).

Restraining and Protective Orders. Applications for Restraining Orders and Protective Orders are requests for judicial intervention and orders to confine the respondent’s actions or prohibit specific behavior for a brief period pending notice and hearing. In Connecticut, restraining orders and protective orders are typically filed when there is a continuous threat of imminent physical harm to the applicant or the applicant’s children. There are different types and levels of relief that are available, ranging from orders that the Respondent not contact the Applicant, orders that the Respondent must leave the marital home, to orders of temporary custody of minor children. The Applicant may also request certain limited financial orders in conjunction with a Restraining Order.

Temporary Injunctions. A temporary injunction may be requested in order to preserve the rights of a party pending a full hearing on the merits of an issue. It is a preliminary order made by the court, granted at the beginning of an action or during the pendency of an action, which forbids the performance of certain acts or behaviors until the rights of the parties have been finally determined by the court. Applications for temporary injunctions are usually filed with the court when the issue is financial, such as a threat of concealing or disposing of assets, or to prevent fraudulent transfers during the pendency of a divorce.

Before rushing into court, it is important for a party and his or her attorney to carefully consider the following: 1) Do the circumstances constitute a true emergency? Savvy attorneys in Fairfield County will advise clients against filing an emergency motion if the facts do not rise to the level of a true crisis. 2) Does the applicant have any alternative recourse-legal or otherwise? The judge will consider whether there was another means of bringing the issues before the court. If the issues are serious in nature but not particularly time sensitive, for example, it might be more appropriate to file the Motion to be argued on the regular court calendar. 3)How will the filing of an emergency motion impact the case? If there are serious allegations made against a party and brought to the court’s attention in an expedited, emergent manner, chances are that tensions and conflict will continue to rise between the parties. If the party were to lose the emergency motion, it could make the situation even worse.

The experienced attorneys at Broder Orland Murray & DeMattie LLC are well versed in analyzing the likelihood of success of various emergency motions available to our clients and the circumstances which warrant filing the motions.

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