An Order to Show Cause is the legal document that accompanies a request for emergency orders. It is similar to a Notice of Motion except there is no waiting period between the time you file your papers and the receipt of a temporary order. This document, along with your affidavits, is presented to the judge, ex parte. The Order to Show Cause can contain specific orders that if signed by the judge have the full force of temporary orders. The Order to Show Cause demands that your spouse appear in court and show cause as to why your requested relief should not be granted. For example, the Order to Show Cause may contain a provision ordering your spouse to pay you a specified amount of temporary support, and your spouse will need to explain why this shouldn't be necessary.
Depending on the laws of your state, your lawyer may or may not have to provide your spouse's lawyer with a copy of the Order to Show Cause before taking it to the judge. Not all courts in all states will issue such an order, but if your court will do so, it will provide you with some temporary relief until a hearing can be held. Once the Order to Show Cause is signed, the papers get served on your spouse.
Sign up to receive a 10-part series of useful information and legal advice about the divorce process.