Emergency Custody Petitions
Although they may not be as common as other types of custody arrangements, some Florida families do require the assistance of an attorney when attempting to obtain emergency custody of a couple’s children. There are a number of different terms that can be used to describe the process of obtaining an emergency custody order, including an emergency motion for custody, an emergency motion to suspend contact, and temporary emergency relief. Regardless of the exact terminology, emergency custody agreements all involve efforts to protect the physical or emotional safety of a couple’s child.
Judges are generally reluctant to take away a parent’s rights to visitation, so obtaining an emergency custody order can be a difficult endeavor. To ensure that your own parental rights, as well as the interests of your children are protected during an emergency custody hearing, please contact our dedicated child custody legal team for help.
Ex-parte emergency motions are filed with a court, but sent directly to a judge without the need to provide the other party with notice of the filing. These types of motions are usually only issued in cases where:
- There is a high risk that one parent will remove a couple’s children from the area if they find out that a motion is pending; or
- There is a threat of immediate physical harm to the child in question if the respondent discovers that an emergency motion has been filed.
Because ex-parte proceedings don’t require that the other party be given notice of the proceedings and don’t provide respondents with the opportunity to defend themselves against the petitioner’s allegations, these motions are rarely granted.
Standard Emergency Motions with Notice
A more traditional type of emergency motion is the standard emergency motion, which requires that the respondent be given notice of the allegations, as well as an opportunity to:
- Make objections;
- Present arguments;
- Provide the court with evidence; and
- Provide witness testimony in their defense.
Because emergency motions infringe on a parent’s rights, courts are only willing to award them if there is evidence of a true emergency, which usually requires claims or evidence of:
- Threats or incidents of neglect or abuse;
- Child abandonment;
- Substance abuse;
- Threats of abduction; or
- Exposure to a life-threatening situation.
When determining whether an incident rises to the level of an emergency, courts will look to a wide range of evidence, most of which is presented at the time of the hearing. This evidence could come from medical records, police reports, eyewitness testimony, or even expert opinion.
Contact Our Office by Phone or Online Message
If you believe that your situation justifies the issuance of an emergency custody order or have questions about what circumstances rise to the level of an emergency, please call the office of Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. today to schedule a no-obligation case review. Our dedicated Fort Lauderdale child custody attorneys can be reached at 954-945-7591 or via online message at no cost, so please don’t hesitate to call or contact us online at your earliest convenience.