Protecting the health and safety of your child (or children) is your top priority. If your child is in imminent danger of abuse by their other parent, you might want the court to make custody orders right away to keep your child out of harm’s way. But often, the court’s hearing calendar prevents the court from taking quick action. Fortunately, you can seek to have a judge decide your case outside of the court’s regular schedule by filing for emergency custody orders.
To ask for emergency custody orders, you must complete various documents and specify why you believe such action is necessary. The judge will review your forms and determine whether to grant your request. If the judge approves the orders, they will take effect immediately. The orders will be valid until a hearing for a final child custody determination.
When Can You Request Emergency Child Custody Orders?
You can petition for emergency child custody orders when you believe that your child’s safety is in danger and you want to prevent continued or future abuse. Your request can be for new orders or a change in existing orders.
Generally, requests are submitted in situations involving domestic violence, where the child is exposed to recent or repeated acts of:
- Abuse, or
- Sexual abuse.
They may also be requested when the child’s other parent has a substance abuse problem.
Emergency child custody orders give you temporary physical custody, care, and control of your child, allowing you to lawfully remove them from a potentially harmful situation.
How Do You Petition for Emergency Child Custody Orders?
Asking for emergency child custody orders requires you to prepare and file several documents at your local courthouse.
These documents include:
- The Request for Order form. This is where you state what orders you are asking the court to make.
- The Temporary Emergency Orders form. This is where the judge will specify the relief they have granted.
- A written declaration. This is a letter you write telling the court why the matter cannot wait to be heard during the court’s regular hearing schedule. You must also specify what harm your child has or could suffer. This must be a detailed account describing the acts committed against your child and when they occurred. You may also show that your child is at risk of being taken out of the state by their other parent.
- Prior orders. You must submit any previous requests you made or were granted for the same issue.
- Current custody arrangements. If you and your child’s other parent already have a custody order, you must notify the court of it. You must also state how your present arrangements will be affected by temporary emergency custody orders. If you don’t have an existing child custody order, you must specify your child’s current living arrangements.
- The Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act form. On this document, you state the residence information for your child for the last 5 years, whether you have previously been part of a custody proceeding concerning your child, whether a domestic violence restraining order has been issued, and whether any other person has custody or visitation rights for your child.
The judge determines whether to grant your request based on the information you have included in your forms. They may also consider your child’s other parent’s statements if you were required to serve them with copies of your documents and they responded.
What Do Emergency Child Custody Orders Do?
Emergency orders temporarily allow you to remove your child from their other parent’s custody. They may specify parenting time and place travel restrictions on you and your child’s other parent.
The judge will list the specific terms of your orders on the papers you pick up from the clerk’s office. The forms will also list the court date for your hearing for final orders. The hearing is where you and your child’s other parent present your sides of the story concerning custody.
How Long Do Emergency Custody Orders Last?
Emergency custody orders go into effect as soon as the judge signs off on them. They last until your final custody hearing.
Consult a Lawyer About Your Case
If you’re seeking to protect your child’s safety through temporary emergency custody orders, reach out to an attorney for help. A lot of moving parts make up the process, and you want to be sure that you turn in everything required for the judge to make a determination.Schedule a consultation with a member of our Los Angeles team at Claery & Hammond, LLP by calling us at (310) 817-6904 or contacting us online.