Emergency Orders & Hearings

Our Georgia law firm is a boutique law practice focused on helping healthcare providers, professionals, businesspersons, and their family members protect their interests and peace-of-mind, including the safety of their children, their financial assets, and their family's general well-being.

What Qualifies as an “Emergency”

When an emergency requires immediate attention and you feel that you cannot wait the thirty (30) or more days for a formal hearing to be scheduled by the Court, it will be necessary to petition the Court for emergency relief. In reality, however, not every negative incident is an emergency requiring immediate relief. Many family law attorneys will have you believe that any issue can be considered an emergency that must be brought to the Court's attention immediately, but Georgia courts do not necessarily agree or approve of this course of action. Indeed, just like a parent might admonish and/or ignore a child that constantly tattles on their siblings' every slight provocation, requesting emergency relief from the Court based on minor slights, indignities, and/or affronts is certain to exasperate the Court and turn their empathy into indifference or apathy towards your cause. As such, it is of critical importance to speak with an attorney who has the requisite knowledge and discretion to help you determine when you should (and should not) seek emergency relief from the Courts. While it is impossible to describe every factual situation that may require emergency relief, potential cases requiring emergency relief include:

  • Where a child is living in destitution or suffering, has been abandoned, or is being reared under immoral, obscene, or indecent influences which are likely to degrade his/her moral character and/or devote him/her to a vicious life;

  • Threats and/or incidents of domestic violence or other abuse against you, your children, or other family members/dependents;

  • Threats and/or incidents of drug abuse, criminal activity, or other illegal and/or dangerous actions by the other parent or guardian that potentially put you, your children or other dependents in harm's way;

  • Threats and/or actions by the other party that reasonably lead you to believe that they may abscond with your child(ren) and relocate outside of the State of Georgia in the near-future;

  • Threats and/or actions by the other party that reasonably lead you to believe that they may attempt to sell, trade, cancel, incumber, destroy or otherwise dispose of marital property and that, for whatever reason, remedial measures taken by the Court after-the-fact will be unable to fix/restore; and

  • Requests for temporary child support, alimony, exclusive use of marital property (e.g., the marital residence) in situations where you are without sufficient means to adequately support yourself, your children or other dependents in the immediate short-term future (i.e., you cannot wait the thirty (30) or more days for a temporary hearing on this issues, as you do not have enough resources to make it that long without assistance).

Basically, emergency relief should only be sought where immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to you, your children (or other dependents), or your property before the hearing deadline that would otherwise be set by the Court and/or without otherwise adequate notice to the other party or attorney. Otherwise, it should wait to be brought to the Court's attention at a properly-set hearing. Speaking with an experienced family law attorney can help you decide which edge-cases should be brought to the Court's attention immediately without the risk of losing your credibility before the Court.

The Process for Obtaining Emergency Relief

Every case is different, particularly when it comes to situations requiring emergency relief. In dealing with emergencies potentially requiring legal relief, it is critical to speak with a local experienced family law attorney as soon as possible. Said attorney will help you make sense of what is happening and will be able to provide you advice as to how to best proceed. As an initial matter, your attorney will help you determine whether your emergency situation will also be considered as an emergency by the Court. If it will indeed be considered an emergency by the Court, your attorney can help you to collect the information and evidence that is most critical to your action and arrange and present it to the Court in an informative and persuasive manner. As well, your attorney can help you determine the best method of seeking relief from your emergency, whether said method involves petitioning the Court, seeking relief from another institution, negotiating with the other parties, or a combination of two or more. If you skip this step (i.e., seeking the advice of an experienced family attorney) and instead run immediately to the Court for relief, you may lose credibility with the Court or even tip the other party off as to your intentions (which may cause them to take drastic measures, whether through the Court or their own activities). Even worse, should you decide to take the law into your own hands, you may face civil liability (such as fines, loss of custody/visitation rights, liability for other party's attorney's fees, etc.) or even criminal sanctions for your conduct, even if you were simply acting in what you thought to be the best interests of the relevant parties. While there will naturally be situations where you cannot wait to speak with an attorney before seeking relief from the Courts, law enforcement, or other avenues (such as in situations of Stalking & Domestic Violence), you should always speak to an attorney immediately (or otherwise as soon as possible) afterward, as it may be the difference between your salvation and further endangerment. Once you have spoken with a local experienced family law attorney, they will advise you of the best process for obtaining emergency relief.

What to Do When Someone has Sought Emergency Relief Against You

Again, the most important thing you can do is speak with a local experienced family law attorney as soon as possible. Second, depending on whether the Court has granted ex parte relief to the other party, potentially without prior notice to you (or without giving you the opportunity to be heard), you will need to collect all relevant information and evidence and give it to your attorney as soon as possible, so that he/she can arrange it in a logical fashion and present it to the Court in a persuasive manner so as to convince the Court to either delay in taking action on behalf of the other party or otherwise reconsider acting on the other party's petition for emergency relief. Keep in mind that, generally, the worst thing you can do is to simply ignore the other party and/or the Court and act like nothing is wrong; you need to take an active role in investigating the other party's allegations and work with your attorney to prove your innocence (and/or the other party's fault). If the Court has already entered emergency relief against you, that is only further cause to speak with and retain an experienced family law attorney who can represent your interests and seek to overturn the Court's emergency relief. As well, a large part of defusing these emergency situations involves negotiating with the other side in an attempt to obtain a compromise that satisfies everyone and protects the best interests of any minor children; as such, your attorney's neutrality and credibility are critical to finding common ground with the other party (or his/her attorney) and avoiding a bickering match that ends in both parties' being upset. Because each emergency situation is different, your approach to resolving such a situation must be tailor-fitted by your attorney to your budget, your goals, and your temprament.

Atlanta and Augusta Family Law Firm for Healthcare Providers and their Family Members

Hamil Little’s attorneys have extensive experience in family law and domestic relations actions in Georgia's courts and otherwise guiding and assisting healthcare providers, professionals, businesspersons, and/or their family members in avoiding legal pitfalls associated with their personal lives, relationships, and family. Our law firm has offices in Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia. Contact us at (404) 685-1662 (Atlanta) or (706) 722-7886 (Augusta) to schedule a confidential consultation.