In certain essential emergency situations, a child custody arrangement can be made immediately.
If a parent or another person believes that there is a compelling reason for requesting emergency custody or emergency temporary custody, they can go to court and request an emergency hearing from the judge.
In most cases these requests will only be granted if there is either a threat of immediate harm coming to the child or some other similarly serious issue such as the disappearance of one parent.
The following is a list of different types of emergencies where you would want custody changed:
- The child’s physical health is at risk because of neglectful or harming behavior on part of another parent;
- A parent with legal custody cannot be found and/or has not had contact with their child in or more than six months or other period dictated by statute;
- A parent is suspected of fleeing with the child, or it’s feared that there could be imminent danger to the child;
- The court needs temporary custody over a child because they’re unable to take care of themselves and must rely on someone else to keep them safe;
- The current custodian cannot provide for the basic necessities for children (food, clothing, shelter) and/or there is a risk that they will not be able to do so in the future;
- The parents are engaged in an ongoing legal battle or otherwise can’t agree on custody arrangements;
- There has been temporary physical harm done by one parent against another which would merit temporary removal from their home. This includes but isn’t limited to domestic violence;
- A parent attempts to relocate the child’s residence and the other parent is opposed to it;
- There is temporary legal custody needed for temporary foster care (generally no more than six months); or
- Parental abduction has occurred, whether temporary or permanent.
When one of the above issues arises, it would be a good idea to contact a lawyer as soon as possible in order to begin child custody proceedings.
An attorney can help you to set up an emergency hearing with a judge within 24 hours (unless there aren’t any judges available), where someone could be given temporary custody over a child until a full hearing can take place later on.
One thing to keep in mind is that if the other parent has legal custody of the child then they will probably be extremely resistant to changing temporary custody arrangements at this time.
As such, you’ll want to try to get temporary custody as soon as possible because delaying can make things much more difficult later on in court proceedings when trying to permanently change the temporary custody arrangement or when giving testimony about how well – or ill-prepared someone is to provide for or protect a child in an emergency situation.
Remember that temporary changes in paternity (and temporary changes in parental rights) can take effect immediately, so if you need temporary custody it’s extremely important to act quickly.
Therefore, when an emergency child custody situation arises, it’s vital that you take every necessary step towards getting temporary custody over a child as soon as possible.
What does the Court Process Involve?
Emergency child custody is different from standard court proceedings because it typically involves a quick or emergency hearing. Expedited hearings most likely will not involve a full trial, just a shorter presentation of evidence and testimony from witnesses, followed by a quicker judgment from the judge.
The plaintiff (the person asking for the emergency order) presents evidence as to why they should be awarded temporary custody.
In most cases, a judge only grants a temporary order, which lasts for a short period of time until a more permanent ruling can be made.
You will usually have an opportunity to present your case – but make sure to do it concisely and with only the most important information. In some states you can represent yourself in court, while in others you must hire an attorney.
What Happens After Emergency Custody Has Been Ordered?
Once an emergency temporary custody order has been granted, it is important to understand what this means and how to proceed.
Once temporary custody is granted for a temporary caretaker or guardian, there are two possible scenarios that can play out depending on circumstances;
- A parent or custodian gets temporary custody with the agreement of one or both biological parents; or
- A guardian gets temporary custody without the agreement of biological parents.
If both parents want to keep parenting rights over their child but feel that they can agree on which one should take temporary custody (meaning that an unfit situation does not exist requiring them to seek outside assistance), then once a temporary caregiver status has been established, temporary guardianship will simply work with all parties involved to create a plan for taking care of child until further notice by the court.
However, temporary custody status will generally only last while an unfit situation exists that requires temporary custody to be granted in order to protect the child. When that temporary unfit circumstance no longer exists, a temporary guardian’s rights can be revoked depending on the order from the judge.
The most important thing is to always consider the best interests of your children first and foremost – what’s in their best interest will look different for each family depending on individual circumstances.
Getting additional legal assistance when considering seeking emergency child custody should also be considered so that you are aware of all possible outcomes prior to making decisions about temporary custody, temporary guardian rights, or anything else that may be relevant to your family’s unique circumstances.
Just because you were awarded emergency child custody during the first hearing does not mean that this automatically continues past the end date. To continue an order for emergency child custody, either side has to request another hearing before the temporary order expires, present evidence to support their claims, and have a judge issue another order.
In some cases, however, you might need to defend yourself from being accused of neglecting those same responsibilities you are accusing the other party or the defendant of. Make sure to pay close attention to any follow-up hearings related to your custody case so that you know when and where these proceedings will take place.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me File for Emergency Child Custody?
If you would like assistance setting up temporary paternity or temporary child custody arrangements, please call a child custody lawyer today.
They can provide you with legal services for your emergency situation and can assist you in getting temporary custody over your child as soon as possible.
If you need assistance setting temporary parental rights or temporary paternity arrangements, a family lawyer can help make sure that everything is taken care of promptly so that the process of obtaining temporary custody doesn’t take up more time than it has to.
Most child custody law firms also offer expedited processing on temporary legal services. Typically, temporary custody arrangements are handled quickly and efficiently, so please contact a lawyer in your area as soon as possible.