Court Orders

When a court makes a decision, the Judge signs a written order summarizing the decision. Someone must prepare the order. Usually, one of the attorneys prepares the order, but sometimes the Judge prepares it. Either way, an order is not enforceable until a Judge signs it and someone files the signed order with the County Clerk. A Referee can only recommend an order and prepare it; the recommended order does not become enforceable until a Judge signs it or until it is entered because neither party objected within a certain amount of time. If you disagree with an order and want to challenge it, your options include filing a motion for a re-hearing (by the Judge who issued the order) or filing an appeal (to a higher court).

You cannot change an order by filing a grievance or by complaining to other government agencies.

Ex Parte Orders

Ex Parte orders are temporary orders entered at the request of one party before any formal hearing.

A Judge will enter an ex parte order without the other party present when the Judge believes that serious harm will occur if the Judge defers issuing any orders until the opposing party has the opportunity to speak with the Judge. Ex parte orders usually are intended to keep the situation stable until the Judge can hear from both parties.

Referee Decisions

A Referee is not a Judge, but performs some tasks on behalf of the Circuit Court Judge who is presiding over the case. A Referee may hold hearings, examine witnesses, and make recommendations to the Judge. A Referee's recommendation will become a court order only if neither party files an objection within specific time limits or (if a party does object) only after the court holds a hearing and the Judge then signs an order approving the Referee's recommendation.