Hello, I am Shilpa Mehta with the Feldstein Family Law Group.
Today, I would like to talk to you about urgent motions. I want to be clear, urgent motions are not like regular motions and should only be brought under certain circumstances. Let’s discuss those circumstances.
What is an Urgent Motion?
Well, it’s probably best to start with how an urgent motion is different than a regular motion. A regular motion is brought only after the issues in the motion have been conferenced. What does this mean? Well it means that you have first discussed the issue of your motion at a Case Conference in front of a judge, and that judge has given you her or his opinion on whether the motion should be brought at all and the likelihood you will be successful if you brought the motion. The judge at the Case Conference will discuss the issues of any potential motions, and try to settle them so that you do not spend time and money arguing a motion on a future date. If you cannot resolve the issues of a potential motion at the Case Conference then you can bring your motion, and the motion’s judge will know you and your spouse have made some effort to settle the motion, and could not reach an agreement. This tells the motion’s judge that she or he will have to make a decision, as there is no other way to potentially resolve what is being argued. A regular motion also has to be with at least 4 days’ notice to anyone affected by the motion. So how does an urgent motion differ from a regular motion? An urgent motion can be brought without the issues being first conferenced, and without proper notice. Why? Simply put, you can circumvent the rules if you can prove your motion is urgent.
When should you bring an Urgent Motion?
Well, you need to ask yourself one simple question: are the issues of your motion so urgent, that if you followed the rules of first conferencing the issues and then giving notice, would those steps effectively eliminate the need to bring your motion at all? Basically, will following the rules of motions result in something prejudicial or irreversible happening? In essence, you should bring an urgent motion when your children are in imminent danger, or when someone is doing something or could do something that would really hurt you if you waited for judicial intervention, or if you need something desperately and cannot wait, like a restraining order. There is no hard and fast rule, but the aforementioned examples are a good place to start.
What should you do next?
If you feel you need to bring an urgent motion, then the faster you do it the better. Remember, he who hesitates is lost. Why? Well, if you hesitate or wait then it looks like you did not think the issues of your motion were urgent, and most likely neither will the judge hearing your motion. So strike, while the iron’s hot!
If you feel you need to bring an urgent motion, or if you have just been served with urgent motion materials and you disagree that the matter is urgent, you may want to consider consulting and/or hiring a lawyer to either help you draft materials or argue the motion on your behalf. It may turn out that the motion was not urgent at all.