Emergency motions

Any time during the divorce proceedings, either party may file a motion with a request for an order shortening time (OST).  This basically requests the judge to sign an order that allows the motion to be placed on the judge’s calendar as soon as possible.

Obviously, an OST is very important if some issue is time sensitive and requires the court to make a quick decision. Normally, a delay of 4-6 weeks can be expected after filing a motion – whereas 1-7 days might be more common for a motion with an approved OST.

In my experience, my ex has filed three OSTs that the judge has granted – one claiming the children needed “urgent” psychological treatment because I cut off their cable, and the other because my ex needed a ruling to meet a college application deadline. In my opinion, the OSTs were both bogus and used to get other issues in front of the judge while citing an “emergency” involving the children.  

My sole request for an OST to order production of discovery documents immediately before trial was denied – in this case her lawyer had provided zero responses to my discovery requests just two weeks before trial and had not submitted a pre-trial memorandum as required by court rules. My request was denied despite the fact that I had no information to make a case.   Her counsel then filed a motion under OST claiming that he had not received certain discovery documents (from the hundreds of pages I had submitted) and the judge not only granted the OST but postponed the trial for six months after the hearing!


What can I conclude from this? OSTs are solely at the discretion of the judge. Any OST that screams about an emergency (physical or financial) for a wife or children will likely be granted. I tend to imagine that judges use the “headline test”, thinking, “would I like to see this story on the front page on the newspaper in the morning?”.

Procedural motions are unlikely to be granted (unless you are a lawyer who has donated to a judge’s election campaign).

 Just my $0.02 worth – comments always welcome.


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