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Understanding ex parte child custody motions in Minnesota

Minnesota parents who are dealing with child custody issues may be interested in the rules surrounding emergency custody-related court hearings. These hearings do not require notice to the other party, but they are subject to strict requirements.

In many cases, child custody issues are resolved through the court system, with both parties getting proper notice of a hearing on the issue. However, some issues demand resolution through an emergency "ex parte" hearing, meaning that a court hears the issue without properly notifying the other party. Some common reasons for such a hearing include temporary custody or child support orders, temporary orders to prevent the sale of property or restraining orders that deny access to the family residence when the child or parent is in danger from the other party.

These ex parte hearings are subject to specific rules relating to subject matter and procedure. The issue at hand must be shown to have the potential to cause immediate harm, and there must be documentation of any effort to provide notice to the other party. If a temporary restraining order is granted, the other party may challenge the order, and the court will attempt to hear that challenge as soon as required in the interests of justice. Additionally, particular forms must be completed in relation to the ex parte hearing. The court itself does not stock these forms, so they must be obtained either through a law library or an attorney.

Ex parte hearings and child custody issues in general may require the assistance of an attorney in order to be successful. The attorney may be able to advise the party on their rights and options with regard to family law issues. The attorney could also be helpful in representing the party in court.

Source: mncourts.gov, "Basics on Child Custody & Parenting Time", August 28, 2014

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