What is a Divorce Emergency?
One of the reasons to hire Sean Whitworth or any good Family Law Attorney is that without a fit Family Law Attorney there is practically no chance to get a Divorce Emergency handled timely. The law offices of Sean Whitworth focus on Family & Divorce Law and they have done so for almost an entire decade.
At Law Offices of Sean Whitworth, we charge flat fees and offer free consults in our Marietta Office. When needed under special circumstances we offer payment arrangements.
Every client going through a divorce, especially one involving custody issues, feels that they have a divorce emergency situation. This is understandable as they are usually living with a spouse they no longer want to be with, the dynamic in the home has changed dramatically and often one or both spouses begin to express this tension and loss of affection through damaging behaviors. If they have children the situation is compounded and the home if a place of trauma and destructive emotions.
Because of this, they come to my office and demand relief, which every lawyer wants to give instantaneously; however, in a contentious matter, it is the court that grants relief and the court is not in a rush to resolve domestic matters. It is not because judges simply do not care, it is simply because most courts are overburdened with both domestic and criminal cases and every case gets in line according to the scheduling procedures of a particular judge. I as an attorney have to navigate this system while my client calls and ask when will they get him/her out of the house. There are several options for immediate relief.
Divorce Emergency Hearing
The court provides for a temporary hearing, which usually can occur relatively quickly. This hearing is a condensed trial in which the client and one witness are allowed to testify and time is limited. The purpose is to establish initial ground rules such as support, custody, visitation and possession of the marital home. A temporary hearing usually can occur in thirty days. However, many situations are more urgent and thirty days can be an eternity.
Sometimes it involves abuse, both physical and psychological. Often it involves a parent who is fleeing the jurisdiction with the children. If there is abuse the most immediate relief will come in the form of a temporary protective order. This order will be granted as an ex parte order the same day as requested and each jurisdiction has their own procedures for this protection. In this case, the party must show real abuse and history of abuse if seeking a family violence protective order. If granted the offending party will be removed from the home by the Sheriff that day. The problem is that many domestic situations are incredibly volatile yet do not reach the threshold provided by statute for family violence protection.
These situations are difficult for clients to understand. They have been dealing with the drama and trauma for months if not years and they finally come to a lawyer and expect immediate relief. They do not want to wait for a temporary hearing, they cannot get a TPO and the only option for quick relief is to file an emergency motion.
Every client is in an emergency situation but the courts are very selective with what they consider an emergency. This is a difficult conversation to have with people who are in a volatile domestic relationship. Often they do not have the proof of abuse, they have been living with insanity for an extended period but there is not the level of evidence to warrant an emergency hearing. I regularly prepare motions for emergency hearings in an effort to come to the front of the court’s line only to have a desensitized court reject them outright without a hearing.
When you seek this immediate relief the level of your divorce emergency must be evident and provable. Often I receive relief when one parent leaves the state and threatens to remove the children, or one parent leaves the children and continues to accept child support; or if there is excessive drinking, drug use or criminal activity; and always in cases of abuse, which should be preceded by a temporary protective order. Volatility and disruption in the home usually will not warrant an emergency, the courts accept this as part of a divorce situation.
The problem the lawyer has to navigate is the reality that every client feels their situation is an emergency and rightfully so; however, the lawyer is trapped between this reality and the reality that the courts are slow and very selective in what they consider an emergency situation. We are tenacious and effective in our approach and are located in Marietta Ga with a 2nd Office in Midtown Atlanta. To contact us and schedule your appointment, simply call 770-490-0921 or book online