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An Order to Show Cause is a powerful tool for obtaining the support of the courts when emergent circumstances arise. Read on to learn how to file one and how they work.

pport of the courts when emergent circumstances arise. Read on to learn how to file one and how they work.

When dire family emergencies occur, an Order to Show Cause could be the first step to securing relief. These orders are heard on an extremely expedited basis, usually on the day of filing, due to their urgent nature. Filing and being granted an Order to Show Cause bears specific requirements, as they are granted on a limited basis. True emergent circumstances must be present in order for the judge to deviate from their strict motion schedule.

What qualifies as an emergent circumstance that warrants an Order to Show Cause?

People often misuse the Order to Show Cause as a result of emotional trauma or vengeful motives. The circumstances that actually warrant an Order to Show Cause being heard are few. These orders almost always include a preliminary injunction ordering the other party not to take action that would cause “immediate and irreversible harm” to the litigant. Therefore, timeliness and the degree of potential harm are critical factors. Basically, any kind of dispute in which a harmful action that cannot be undone is about to take place could be considered.

Example: If your former partner says that they plan to take your child out of the country in a few months, this would not be an emergent circumstance that warrants an Order to Show Cause being heard. It would go through the regular motion schedule. If, however, they plan to take the child later today or tomorrow, and you can prove that this might result in the child being permanently removed from your custody, you will have a much higher chance of the order being granted.

What else should I know?

Litigants also need to show the following:

  1. The issue warranting the application is unsettled.
  2. There is a reasonable probability of success.
  3. They would face hardship if the request was denied.

These circumstances, as well as the threat of irreparable harm, must be proven for the Order to Show Cause to be heard. The defendant only has to deflect one of these circumstances for the order to be denied.

Be aware, too, that the courts do not tolerate the misuse of the Order to Show Cause, as it can slow progress and distract from the regular motion schedule. So, be sure to use these kinds of orders sparingly and in the correct circumstances to avoid losing favor or credibility with a judge.

Get in touch with us!

If you believe you are facing an emergent circumstance, contact us as soon as possible to have an experienced attorney go over the details of your case and help you file an Order to Show Cause if it’s the right move for your situation. We’re ready to help you get the relief you need and stay in favor with the courts.

This article is part two of a two-part series on emergent circumstances. To learn more about emergent circumstances, read part one that explains what they are and how they are approached.