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Child Custody-Related Emergencies


It is not uncommon for divorced parents to butt heads over child custody-related issues. Whether it involves wanting to change a parenting time schedule or having differing opinions on child rearing methods, these disputes can take a serious emotional toll on the parties involved, as well as their children. Having a court-approved parenting plan is crucial to avoiding these types of problems, as a well-drafted version will set out exactly who is authorized to make decisions for the child and how parenting time should be divided. For this reason, in most cases, parenting plans are the first line of defense to diffuse a conflict between ex-spouses. However, when a parenting plan does not address a specific issue and a child is in an emergency situation, it can be difficult to know what steps to take next. Fortunately, there are specific rules in place that can help guide parents in these situations. If you want to learn more about your parental rights and legal obligations, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced child custody lawyer who can address your questions and concerns.

The Importance of Parenting Plans 

Parenting plans are required in all cases that involve time-sharing with minor children and will include not only a time sharing schedule, but also specific information about how disputes will be resolved, and who will make major decisions regarding the child’s education and religion. When a dispute arises over the terms of a parenting agreement, the court can step in and modify it or enforce the current version. However, issues that directly and seriously endanger a child’s health may require immediate action, in which case, a parent can file an emergency motion.

Emergency Motion  

In Florida, courts only hold emergency hearings when there is serious concern over a child’s well-being. For example, judges hold emergency hearings in cases involving claims of child abuse, neglect, or threats of abuse. Removing a child from the state without notice or being convicted of a serious or violent offense may also justify an emergency hearing.

Before a parent will be granted emergency relief, the parent or a family member must file a petition with the court, which will then hold an emergency hearing for temporary relief. At this time, the petitioner can present evidence demonstrating that the other parent is putting the child in immediate danger. Evidence could include police reports, medical records, witness testimony, and reports from child protective services. The court may also request a more extensive investigation involving interviewing the child.

If, after hearing all of the evidence, the court deems it to be in the best interests of the child, it will issue a temporary order, the contents of which will depend on the circumstances of the case. For instance, an order could include transferring custody to another parent, or ordering anger management or parenting classes. Alternatively, the order could authorize a parent to immediately claim possession of the child, usually with the help of law enforcement. Eventually, a full trial will be held on the issue, at which point the temporary order will either be terminated, changed, or modified.

Call an Experienced Child Custody Attorney Today  

If you believe that your child is in danger and have already spoken to police, you may need to file an emergency motion with the court. Please call dedicated and compassionate Fort Lauderdale child custody lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 to learn more.



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