It’s your worst nightmare. You fear that your child’s other parent presents an immediate danger to him or her. Examples of immediate danger are abuse, neglect, abandonment, allegations of sexual contact, risk of kidnapping and any other reckless or threatening behavior. What can you do legally to remove your child from the situation? Emergency child custody is a way to remove a child from a harmful situation or environment. If the courts deem the child in danger, the emergency order provides temporary guardianship until the situation is resolved or a permanent custody modification can be made. Our firm recommends taking the following steps to obtain an emergency temporary custody order:
A child’s safety is the court’s number one priority in all situations pertaining to children. If a judge deems the safety of a child at risk, then he or she will take the children out of the home and/or grant emergency custody. That is why if one parent becomes abusive and or presents immediate harm or threat to the child, the other parent has the option to seek an emergency custody order. Keep in mind that there is a very serious accusation against another parent and the courts do not take it lightly. If a parent seeks emergency custody with no grounds to base the claim, he or she will most likely face penalties and their right to see the child may be at risk.
After contacting our firm, we will ask that you gather any documentation to support your emergency custody claim. Documents can include records of abuse, child psychiatrist evaluations, protection order proceedings, medical records, police reports, prior parental convictions, text messages, emails or anything that can substantiate your claim. Next, we will assist you in filing a motion for an emergency change of custody, which is a formal document that the requesting parent will detail and state the facts of the case. The documentation you gathered will be attached to the motion for the judge to review. A hearing for emergency custody will be set and the family court judge will make a decision. The emergency hearing will address all things associated with the emergency custody request that immediately affect the health or well-being of the child. The judge will then either grant you the motion for emergency custody. You may hear this referred to as ex parte, which means that it is in the interest of one side only or of an interested outside party. If the judge doesn’t deem that there is enough evidence to warrant the emergency custody, then he or she will choose to deny the motion. If you are granted a temporary custody order, vary in the length of time depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. Emergency orders can last for an indefinite time until they are modified by another order by the court.
Fortunately, the majority of child custody matters are conducted civilly and on a non-urgent basis. However, if you find yourself in the terrible position that you must make a decision such as filing an emergency custody order, contact Kevin Hickey Law Partners. It is important that you use an experienced family law attorney to assist you in this emergency and present your case to the judge. There is no time to waste in situations like this and filings must be expedited because the health and safety of your child are at risk. We will help you file for a temporary custody order while helping you develop a more permanent custody plan. Don’t hesitate another day; there is no time to waste.