Also know as “show cause,” an Order to Show Cause grants a party – for example, a battered wife in a situation of domestic violence – emergency relief, sometimes the same day the application is made. An order to show cause is supported by the applicant’s sworn affidavit why the immediate relief is necessary and appropriate – for example, to prevent an abusive husband from entering the marital home.
The court can also set the case for oral argument at a later date, which is called a return date, when the parties must return to court and show cause why the order should not be granted in the applicant’s favor.
An order to show case can be brought with notice to both parties. In the case of emergency situations, however, such as situations involving the health and safety of a victim of domestic violence, it may be filed without notice. In this case it is called an ex parte order to show cause.
Sometimes court orders are issue ex parte to avoid giving notice to a defendant, for example, in the case when he or she might quickly sell property disputed in a marital settlement.
Protection from abuse orders typically work through the order to show cause procedure.