Children’s safety is the family court’s number one priority. Whenever possible, the judge will allow the children to remain in the home if they can be safe and protected from harm.
But the judge will take children out of the home or grant emergency custody when they cannot be safe and protected in the home. If one parent becomes abusive and presents immediate harm or threat to the child, the other parent can seek emergency custody. Emergency custody could also be granted if the evidence shows that the child is abandoned, neglected, or a parent’s substance abuse puts the child in danger.
Children are not removed from their home to punish their parents or guardians. It is only granted in urgent circumstances, so parents should not attempt to seek emergency custody unless the threat of harm is serious. If a parent makes a false claim, he or she may face legal penalties and their right to see the children might be at risk.
Know Who to Call for Emergency Custody
If you know your child is under serious and immediate threat from the other parent, consult with a child custody lawyer. Different states have different rules regarding custody, so you need an experienced family law lawyer to assist you in an emergency and to concisely present your case to the judge. Call our office today at (479) 225-2567 or contact a family lawyer online to schedule an appointment about a custody case.
After you call your attorney, gather the appropriate documentation to support your emergency custody claim. Documents include records of abuse, child psychiatrist evaluations, protection order proceedings, medical records, police reports, phone records, prior parental convictions, etc.
The court will only consider the matter urgent if you can show that your son or daughter is in imminent danger.
File an Emergency Custody Motion with the Family Court
Your family law attorney will assist in filing a motion for emergency change of custody. This is a formal document in which the requesting parent will state the facts of their case. The documentation you gathered might be attached to the motion.
Attend the Hearing for Emergency Custody
A family court judge may choose to grant your ex parte motion for emergency custody or they may choose to deny your ex parte motion for emergency custody. In any event, the family court judge will set the matter for a hearing date on your emergency motion wherein you will need to present evidence of the emergency. The other parent will need to be served with notice of the hearing wherein they can attend with their counsel or pro se. If the Judge grants your ex parte motion for emergency custody, then you will have custody of the child pending the emergency hearing.
It’s crucial you have an experienced family law attorney. Judges will typically limit the amount of time each party may have to try their case during an emergency hearing. A family law attorney can help you present your case in an efficient manner, which is particularly important given the time constraints of a typical emergency hearing.