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No matter what your child custody agreement is with your former spouse, or your child’s other parent, one thing comes first when it comes to your child’s welfare: their safety. If you feel for some reason your child’s health or welfare is at risk while he or she is not in your custody, you may need to file for an emergency custody order.

The emergency custody order will be decided at a hearing. At the hearing, a judge will evaluate why you think you need emergency custody of your child. The judge may rule that you receive full custody of your child for a specific time, and, most likely, will establish when there will be a further review about your child’s custody order.

What might qualify for an emergency custody order

The following circumstances would be grounds for an emergency change in custody:

  • Any physical or sexual abuse to your child
  • Neglect of your child’s needs
  • Substance abuse in front of your child or that endangers your child
  • Legitimate fear your child’s other parent will kidnap them

What might prove your claims

When you file for an emergency custody hearing, you must have proof that your child is in danger while under the care of your ex-spouse or your child’s other parent. Here are some examples as to what will bolster your case for an emergency change in custody:

  • Emails or texts with threats or other damaging evidence from your child’s other parent
  • Photos of any abuse injuries or doctor’s reports documenting physical or sexual abuse
  • Police reports of physical or sexual abuse
  • Witnesses who can testify to threats, abuse or substance abuse by the other parent while your child was in their care

What else you need to know

You always should work with an experienced law attorney when filing for an emergency custody order. Dealing with a child custody crisis is stressful. An attorney can help you ensure you present your best case for receiving an emergency custody order.

An attorney also can help you prepare for when your child’s custody order will be reviewed again, to see if your child will return to having visitation or custody time with your former spouse or your child’s other parent.

Finally, if you feel your child’s life is at risk while not in your care, you need to file for an emergency custody order right away. No one wants your child to be hurt, or worse, in the care of an abusive or neglectful parent.