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Emergency Custody Orders Explained

An emergency custody order is a request for immediate child custody without providing notice to the other party. Most requests for an emergency custody order are in regards to minor children.

How Can I Get an Emergency Custody Order for My Child?

In order to obtain an emergency custody order for your child, you will have to file an underlying petition.  The underlying petition can be made for a divorce, establishment, or modification. The underlying petition can also be filed along with your motion for emergency custody.

The emergency motion is the document that will get you the temporary custody order. In your emergency motion, you need to include the nature of your emergency and reasons for which a judge should sign it without notifying the other party. 

If the motion you file is for a minor child, be sure that you specifically state why the child is in immediate danger and that if notified, the opposing party would likely harm the child.

What Do Courts Consider “Immediate Danger & Harm?”

What constitutes immediate danger and harm depends on the discretion of the judge hearing your case. Things like heavy drug and alcohol abuse can be cause for a judge to determine that child is in immediate danger. Proof of physical or significant emotional abuse can also be just cause for an emergency custody order.

How Can I Prove My Child Is In Immediate Danger?

Having strong evidence is the most important aspect of obtaining an emergency custody order. Without proof, your request for emergency custody likely won’t be approved by a judge. Evidence such as reports, photos, or text messages can be used to prove that your child is in imminent danger or at risk of being harmed by the opposing party.

What Do I Do After I Have Compiled Everything I Need?

After you have drafted your petition and collected the evidence you need, you will need to file your documents with the court. Make sure to also bring copies of original documents with you to court. The clerk will stamp your documents and direct you to a courtroom. A judge will pick up and review your documents. If the judge signs them, their assistant will explain the emergency order and what you will need to do next.

Once your order is approved, it will immediately go into effect. Your order will only be valid until your next hearing date. The opposing party will have the opportunity to defend themselves at your hearing date. Make sure you adequately prepare your testimony and evidence for this hearing to ensure that you can retain custody of your child.

Do you have more questions about emergency custody orders? Contact our Charlotte team of divorce lawyers to discuss your case today.

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