When it comes to emergency child custody situations, there are any number of significant situations which may occur necessitating a temporary change of child custody on an emergency basis.  This temporary child custody change may ultimately turn into a permanent child custody order modification.

Many emergency child custody orders are imposed during “ex-parte” proceedings.  An ex-parte hearing is one where the defendant in the case is not actually present.  If the child custody arrangement is across state lines, consideration is given in accordance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act of 1997 (UCCJEA). However, there are some states which do not follow the UCCJEA.  They are:

  • Vermont
  • Missouri
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire

The aforementioned states follow the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act of 1969 (UCCJA) which has one significant difference. The UCCJA will permit states without original jurisdiction to allow emergency temporary child custody orders only if the children are in danger and not a relative of the children.  This is inclusive of the mother or father.  The UCCJEA does allow temporary child custody orders to be imposed if, for example, the mother or father were in imminent danger.

It is common practice that states without jurisdiction over a child custody case will defer to the original state’s custody order.  Only during emergency circumstances may the secondary state have the power to authorize a modification or emergency child custody order change.

You are able to do either in multi-state child custody circumstances.  You may file an emergency child custody petition within the jurisdiction presiding over your case or you may filed an emergency child custody petition in the other state (yours or your ex’s).  The temporary emergency child custody order is designed to protect children threatened with serious harm, neglect, child abuse, etc. (or the threat thereof).

Check your state’s laws or statutes as they do vary between states.

For additional information regarding specific circumstances, please also read:  Information About Emergency Child Custody