In order to get an emergency custody hearing, you have to file a petition with the court. The petition that you file must indicate that there is an emergency issue that needs to be quickly resolved. If the dispute between you and the opposing party is over visitation or child support, it likely won’t be considered as an emergency. Violations of previously issued court orders are usually handled through contempt proceedings. Situations that endanger the welfare or health of a child are generally the only situations that warrant emergency hearings. Child abuse or neglect, the presence of a sex offender in the home, a parent's addiction to drugs, or a parent's absolute refusal to allow the other parent to see the child are all examples situations that warrant emergency hearings.
What Evidence Do I Need?
The judge will only allow evidence that pertains to the emergency situation. All other matters or disputes between parties will need to be saved for trial. The person who requests the emergency hearing will present evidence that shows there is danger to the child. Sworn statements, medical records, reports from child protective services, and statements made by the child or parent, are all examples of strong evidence. You are unlikely to be granted temporary orders without evidence of abuse. A judge can also appoint a guardian or child psychologist to investigate the case and make a recommendation if there is a lack of evidence.
The Judge's Order
After all the evidence has been reviewed and the arguments from both sides have been heard, the judge will issue a temporary order. These orders are effective for a limited period of time or until the final order is issued. Judges can issue an order immediately or they can decide to wait a few days. In cases involving child abuse, the judge can grant limited supervised visitation to the abusive parent, or they can order them to attend mandatory parenting or anger management classes.
For most states, temporary orders are not used as evidence at trial. Any evidence of abuse will need to be resubmitted at trial. The parent accused of abuse can also present evidence at trial to show that their problem has been resolved. The best interests of the child is the primary factor used to determine the final custody arrangements.
Do you need help filing for an emergency custody hearing? Contact our La Mesa team of divorce attorneys to discuss your case today.