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The Art of the Emergency Hearing

Going through divorce is hard enough.  Facing a custody battle with your soon to be ex can be excruciating.  Losing a loved one in the face of having children or grandchildren who need your help, your care, all of this is new territory, something unfamiliar and scary.  Now, add an additional unknown, the legal system.
The first step in tackling that additional unknown, that scary legal system, is contacting a lawyer.  You should take the time to sit down and have a strategy session with someone who understands how to navigate that unknown.  How to guide you through it.  How to see you through to the other side.
In that initial strategy session your lawyer should compassionately and thoughtfully listen to your story, the facts of your case, and identify how to best help you.  With an ear on all facts, there are certain ones, certain facts, certain situation, that will lend themselves towards seeking immediate relief, seeking what is called an emergency hearing.
Your spouse was arrested.  Your partner is doing drugs.  A father has died.  A mother is abusive.  Your child is in danger.  Immediately lack of stability, like losing a home or not having somewhere to sleep.  These are just a few situations that might raise the hairs on the back of anyone’s neck.  However, when your attorney hears them, they should be well prepared and knowledgeable on how to handle these emergency situations.
So, the question becomes how do you get relief?  What do you do?  What does your attorney do?  That answer is usually filing a Motion for Emergency Hearing with the court and seeking immediate relief.  And, every court is different in how you procedurally handle filing a Motion for Emergency Hearing.  Thus, it is important for your attorney to know the court in which they are working.  It is important to understand those procedures so your attorney can quickly and efficiently get before the court and ask for relief on your behalf.
For example, in Cobb County there are Senior Judges who preside over emergency hearings.  They are different from the Judge assigned to your matter.  Knowing how to get the Motion for Emergency Hearing in front of them for review is an essential part of the process.  Not all counties have or utilize senior judges.  So, the procedure in those counties would be different. Make sure your attorney knows the court, knows the procedures and knows your case.  If they do, they will be able to help guide you through one of the most difficult things you will face in your life.
If the purported emergency would not raise the hairs on the back of anyone’s neck, a judge would likely hold your request for an emergency hearing against you.  Don’t inflate the gravity of the situation.  It won’t help your cause.  Instead, use the hairs on the back/shock method of evaluating whether it merits drawing the judge’s attention to the immediate situation or whether it is better to let the normal court process take its course.
Having a smart, savvy, strategic attorney is the key element.