Information About Emergency Child Custody

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There are many serious circumstances which may arise that would justify pursuing an emergency temporary change of child custody. Most of these emergency orders are undertaken during “ex-parte” proceedings, which means the other party isn’t present for the hearing.

When the situation crosses state lines, consideration is given in accordance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act of 1997 (UCCJEA). The states of Vermont, Missouri, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire do not follow the UCCJEA, but instead follow the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act of 1969 (UCCJA) which has one fundamental difference. Unlike the UCCJEA, the UCCJA will only allow states without original jurisdiction to allow emergency temporary custody orders only if the children are in danger and not a relative of the children (such as the mother or father).

Generally, states without jurisdiction over a specific custody case will defer to the original state’s custody order.  Under emergency circumstances, though, the secondary state has authority to grant a temporary change to that order.

Faced with just such a situation, you can file a petition for the emergency temporary change to the custody order in a different state.  Of course, you may also file for such a change in the court with current jurisdiction.  Such an order is intended to protect children who are subjected to or are otherwise threatened with serious harm or child abandonment.  Examples of circumstances which may necessitate an emergency change may include:

  • Allegations of physical or sexual abuse.
  • Threats of same.
  • Abandonment of the children.
  • Some measure of custody was awarded to a convicted sex offender.
  • Allegations of substance abuse which put the children in danger.

As the laws vary from state-to-state, the consideration from the court cannot be captured in one easy explanation.  There are courts who that are more likely than others to take on emergency authority.

In some states, the courts do consider granting emergency orders if a child’s parent or sibling have been subject to abuse. In those cases, you can buy essay here the objective allows a parent to flee an abusive situation and seek emergency temporary custody either within the state having jurisdiction or another state.

The children for which such an order is sought must be present within the state in order for a court to authorize an emergency custody order change.  Of course, the children must also have been abused or threatened with abuse (or abandoned).   The court will conduct a full, formal hearing before issuing an emergency order. Additionally, all parties are required to be notified and given an opportunity to be heard.  A temporary order of protection can be granted prior to the actual hearing.  Very often, it is. There is also a requirement of notification by the court hearing the emergency case to notify the court holding jurisdiction over the custody arrangement.  These courts will hold conference and make a determination as to the nature of the protection to be granted.

When you file a petition asking for emergency custody, the petition must contain very specific examples of abuse or threats thereof.  This can be accomplished in several ways, including but not limited to:

  • Police reports and/or arrest records of the other parent.
  • Records of relevant prior convictions of the other parent.
  • Results of prior protection order proceedings.
  • Records from Child Protection Services agencies.
  • Medical and/or dental records.
  • Records from child psychologist’s evaluations of the children.

It is important to support your allegations with objective evidence.  False allegations are detrimental to everyone, including the children.  A failure to support your contentions with meaningful objective evidence will restrict the court’s ability to rule an emergency custody change is justified.

Emergency custody orders are only temporary.  Once a temporary custody order has been granted, you must file petitions and initiate proceedings to make these new orders permanent.  This is done through the courts holding original jurisdiction over your case.  The temporary order will only remain in effect until such time as the original court issues a new, permanent order or the period of the temporary order expires.  It behooves you to act quickly for a permanent change to the original custody order.

When serious, emergency circumstances arise that provoke you to make such a move, you should make contact with your legal representatives as soon as you can make it happen.  It may prove difficult and costly, but particularly when the court systems of two different states are involved, the issues are even more complex than those governing a “normal” custody situation.

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  1. I have a question, my son who is 5 told me his step siblings in his fathers home (of whom I share joint legal and physical custody with) have been touching his private parts, the state investigated and substantiated the reports, the boys doing these things are the same age as my son, the state investigator put a safety plan in place stating that supervision was not adequate and that the boys should be separated at night. I feel like my son is unsafe, things like this have been happening for almost a year. The court clerk in my county said that my case did not qualify for an emergency protective order because it was children who were the abusers not the parents, I have not let my kids go back since the first of this month, I cannot find any Missouri laws concerning this matter. I don’t want to be breaking the law but I have to protect my children, their father has also not notified me of any of this and he was aware of the abuse. What can I do to get temporary custody so I am by held in contempt of court?

  2. I have a temporary custody agreement with my husband. There is nothing in the agreement stating anything about family emergencies. I need to go to my home state which is a different state than where I live, 2 states away. I know my husband will refuse, but if I stay here, I have no car, so I will not get my daughter on Christmas as planned, and I will also not get her if I leave her with her father (who has had her with his famiy EVERY year since she was born for EVERY holiday). I need to know if I can take her with me. I need to leave asap, and will be gone on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but I don’t really have a choice. What should I do?

  3. My brother’s estranged wife has a daughter from a previous relationship, and the two don’t get along. My “sister-in-law” has a serious drinking problem. My niece had been going from friend to friend so that she didn’t have to be with her mom, and so she could go to school in the same school district. My daughters both go to her school so about a year and a half ago she came to live with me. Her mom in the meantime has been convicted of DUI and is in jail. Can I file for Emergency Custody?

  4. My ex husband was investigated by CPS and Domestic Violence due to Police Reports {statements from both children were taken}. He also has physically assaulted me {grabbing my face and threatening me}. He has two outstanding hearings civil/criminal due to assaults. He shower’s with my ten year old daughter; forces children {13/boy 10/girl} to sleep in bed with he and his girlfriend. He frequently drives intoxicated with the children; crashing his truck at his Mother’ residence.

    When my ex found out about the aforementioned; he filed for emergency temporary custody, and won. We met 6 days later, and he was granted custody again. I had an attorney present, statements from my family, police reports, CPS was present at hearing; and judge would not look at documentation – or hear CPS speak. I was ordered a ‘psych evaluation’ by the judge. Please Help Me!! I fear for my children’s safety and welfare. I have always been primary care giver. This was clearly an unjust and bias ruling….

  5. I have 2 granddaughters and their parents refuse to work and provide for them. I have court ordered visitation with the oldest one and doing the same for the younger one. My husband and I have been the ones providing for these babies since birth until about a month ago. The mother is constantly moving these babies from their residence to her parents where there is not enough room for all the people who live there. The house ,her parents where her and the babies are staying, is full of mold and smells like human feces all the time and it gets worse when it rains. If it rains more than a day it floods all the way to the main floor. I have been threatened several times when picking up the babies by her family. The court knows of the threats and they have been warned to butt out but they don’t. We have a court date coming up for contempt because on 2 separate occasions she would not let me have the baby. They can’t afford diapers or their bills but always seem to afford a high priced lawyer for court. I do not want my grand babies being raised in that house by those people. The oldest is 22months old and has cavities in her front teeth and goes to Childrens Hospital in Columbus to try and save them. I took them because they do not have a car which I have tried to help them get but the mother says they don’t need one . The youngest one is 9 months and losing weight before she even started crawling. I don’t believe they are being taken care of right and we have called Child Protective Services several times and they go down and they lie to them and nothing gets done. The last time we called they went down and she was told they could not live there because there was not enough room for everyone so they went to their own apt. but ended up back at her parents because their utilities got turned off for non payment. This is a constant cycle that needs to stop and the babies need to be in a stable environment and I don’t think she can provide that for them. So, my question is… How do I go about going for temporary custody till they can prove they can take care of these babies?

  6. My grandson is in jail, he has a 21 mth old baby boy, and his mother is also on jail, drug related offenses. Her mother got legal guardianship of the baby and refuses to allow my son and his wife, who are the baby’s grandparents, visitation with him, or his 7 yr old sister from a previous relationship. Therefore nobody in my family can see the baby, I am his great grandmother and I miss his very much! We all do as much as we all love him dearly, and I want to know if my son and his wife (the grandparents) have the right to seek visitation. S

  7. Morgan- why are you calling him your husband if you are not together. You clearly have alot to work out not just custody. You may try figuring out your situation first bfore trying to ask for advise.

  8. Kellie you alrady have cistody if she lives with you otherwise u wouldnt have any say in what she does ever but if the mom isnt fighting u for custody then ur fine ….

    Candice Fleming
    Umm why is he showering with your kids for that should stop at 2years of age. That is sexual assult weather he touches them or not. and forcing to sleep in bed too, not cool! thats disgusting. there is NO way on earth unlesss he was able to proove u unfit more than he, that the courts would allot custody to him with all of that backing YOU! Clearly you have left out signifficant details…. If you have always been primary care giver there is no way in hell the courts woul dhave that changed unless they had reason to believe they were not safe under ur care….. Maybe you have a bad mental health reccord that will prevent you from gaining custody …..if the kids are uncomfortable they will speakup and maybe you should have them appear in court as they are old enough to have a say at 10 years of age…….

  9. I have a question and i’m hoping someone can help me or give me some sort of advice…
    We have a married couple who have 3 children all under the age of 6…on thursday, june 27th, all 3 children where removed from the home because of the living conditions and because they didnt do what dcs asked them to do. They have been on and off the investagation list for dcs for almost 6 1/2 yrs now, but just now got them taken away. My husband and i were named godparents to the children by the parents. However the parents didnt sign power of attorney of the children over to us and so when they got taken away they immediately went into state/foster care. My husband and i filed a petition for custody on friday, june 28th and are suppose to go to court either tuesday, july 2 or wednesday, july 3rd. But my husband and i dont know if there is anything we can do to ensure that the children are able to come live with us as we can provide a safe, sanitary and loving home for them. Is there anyone out there that can give us any sort of advice? Please help as soon as possible…

  10. My daughter is 2 years old. Her mother and I have separated because she has been cheating for 2 months now and I found out she has taken my daughter places with this person. Also my daughter is not in the best hands with her. When she was about a year and a half my daughter got out of her house and was walking down the street and a man brought her back into the house. I cannot take my daughter going there anymore. She put my daughter at risk and she has jeopardized her life by leaving her unattended to venture outside and could have been kidnapped by someone. She just picked up my daughter and she drove away with the door open. How can I handle these things. I need full custody and I need emergency custody because I don’t want her in my daughters life anymore. She is unfit and does not know how to raise her own children. She also has a 6 year old that does not live with her. He lives with her parents because she is unable to care for him.