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How to Get an Emergency Child Custody Order

Fri 16th Jun, 2023 Family Law

Child custody determinations require extensive thought and planning. Once a child custody agreement is in place, it typically requires a showing of a significant change in circumstances to modify it, which also takes time. But not all parents have the luxury of time on their side when an existing child custody arrangement threatens the health, safety, or welfare of their child. In those cases, California law allows a parent to bypass the normal process and obtain an emergency child custody order. An experienced attorney at our Stockton child custody law firm can help you obtain such an order. 

Reasons to Request Emergency Child Custody 

California family law courts issue emergency child custody orders to prevent an immediate danger or irreparable harm to the child involved in the matter. This encompasses a wide range of scenarios, such as: 

  • Allegations of domestic violence, child abuse, or neglect
  • An arrest for driving under the influence with the child
  • Other drug-, alcohol-, or crime-related allegations 
  • Physical or mental illness that puts the child in danger
  • A registered sex offender living in the home with the child
  • A risk of parental kidnapping
  • The other parent refuses to let the parent see the child

Such orders are known as “ex parte,” as they may be issued with very little (or no) notice to the other parent.  

Required Documentation 

A parent seeking an emergency child custody order must complete the following forms: 

  1. A Request for Order
  2. A Temporary Emergency Order 
  3. A Declaration Regarding Notice and Service of Request for Temporary Emergency (Ex Parte) Order

In the “FACTS TO SUPPORT” section of the Request for Order, include any evidence that would support your request. Keep in mind that this must be hard evidence, not opinions or conjecture. Such evidence could include medical records, photographs, texts and emails, police reports, and witness statements.  

The Filing Process 

After you have filled out your forms and supplied the required documentation, you must present a copy of this information to the other parent no later than 10:00 a.m. on the day before you submit it to the court. Such notice may not be required in exceptional circumstances, such as when giving notice would result in immediate harm to the applicant or the child. After you have provided notice to the other parent, you may file your paperwork with the court. 

What to Expect After Filing 

The judge in your case will make a decision as soon as possible. Once he or she does, you may return to the court to pick up your forms, which may contain a temporary emergency order for child custody. The court will also set a date for a hearing in the matter. The temporary emergency order remains in effect until the hearing. Once you have the temporary emergency order, you should serve it on the other parent as soon as possible. 

Get an Emergency Child Custody Order With Help From an Attorney at Our Stockton Child Custody Law Firm

If this process sounds complicated, don’t worry — an experienced attorney can guide you through it every step of the way. To get started, please contact an attorney at the Stockton child custody law firm of McKinley, Conger, Jolley & Galarneau by using our online form or calling us at 209-477-8171.

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