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Emergency Child Custody Measures

On occasion, one of the parents may pose a threat to the child while the child is in that parent’s care.  The threats to safety or well-being could arise from a number of factors such as drugs, alcohol, drinking and driving with the children, or even child abuse.

In a case where the safety of a child is in jeopardy, there are a couple of possible options.  First, you may file an Emergency Motion for Modification of Custody.  However, this may mean you get a hearing in 3 weeks instead of 3 months.  If the children are truly in danger, then you may also be able to file a Petition for Order of Protection from Domestic Abuse.

To get an Order of Protection, you must show Domestic Abuse which is broadly defined to include any kind of abuse or threat to the safety of the children.  If there is abuse and quick action is necessary, you can contact Child Protective Services.   Child Protective Services can take a few days to respond, sometimes longer.  Finally, if the danger or harm is immediate and severe, you would need to call the Crimes Against Children unit in the police department to get immediate law enforcement intervention.

These courses of action should be used only when there is truly an emergency.  Taking this action for strategic advantage in your divorce or custody case can backfire very badly if it is found that the allegations are false.   With that being said, the safety of your children is the most important issue to you and to the Court.  Though these measures are extreme, if they are necessary, then they must be taken to protect your children.

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