Written by a Temecula divorce and family law attorney practicing in the Hemet, Murrieta and Temecula areas of Riverside County, California
An Order to Show Cause, or as it is regularly referred to, an OSC, is simply an appointment to see the judge. An OSC can be filed either before or after a party's trial. Before the OSC each party files court papers telling the judge his or her side of the case and telling the judge what orders he or she thinks the judge should make. At the OSC the parties have the ability to add any new information, answer questions for the judge, provide testimony, and to argue how the law applies to his or her case. The judge in the divorce or paternity matter then makes a decision, or court order, which is binding upon both parties.
If an Order to Show Cause is filed before the divorce or paternity trial date, it is called a temporary order. That order is only good until the trial date. There can be an unlimited number of OSC's, but only one trial date. The trial date is the day on which the court grants your divorce and divides your property.
At a temporary OSC, the court only has the power to address certain issues. These issues are too important to wait until the trial date, which will usually be six months after the spouses filed for divorce. The kinds of things the divorce court will make orders on before a trial date are orders for temporary custody and visitation, orders for temporary child support and spousal support (also called alimony), orders for attorney fees, orders to sell the house, or temporary orders when domestic violence is involved. These temporary orders dissolve on the divorce trial date.
Sometimes, the parties need an emergency hearing. This is called an ex parte, and is designed to provide the parties with immediate, temporary relief. However, a true emergency must exist before the court will help the parties in this situation.
After the trial, the parties can return to court on a new Order to Show Cause. If an OSC is filed after a trial, it is called a request for a modification. The types of things a court will hear after a trial date include requests to change the child custody or child support orders, a request to change the spousal support order, a request to enforce an order made at trial, or a request to divide property that was not divided at time of trial.
It generally takes six weeks to get into court once a spouse files an Order to Show Cause. However, a spouse does have the option of asking the court to make orders sooner. This would be done by filing an Ex parte hearing. An ex parte hearing is not a hearing at all. It is the filing of paperwork in court asking the court to make immediate orders for an important issues involving some sort of danger. Ex parte applications almost always involve either domestic violence or a request for custody and contain an allegation the child is in such danger that the court cannot wait six weeks until it hears the case.
If the court agrees the child would be in great danger if the custody and visitation orders are not changed, it could make orders protecting the child. Those orders would only be good a few weeks, at which time both parents could go to court and tell the judge what he or she thinks is in the best interest of the child. If you think your situation is so grave that an ex parte application is appropriate, you should immediately consult a licensed family law and divorce attorney.
For more information about this topic, or any other divorce or family law issue, please visit our websites at: http://www.temeculadivorce.com/ or http://familylaw-riversidecounty.com/ or http://www.familylawyerintemecula.com/
If you reside in the Temecula, Hemet or Murrieta areas of Riverside County, please feel free to contact one of our experienced divorce and family law lawyers to set up a free consultation.