How Should I Handle Emergencies That Arise During my Child Custody Case?
If an emergency arises during your child custody case, such as abuse or other situations that you could put your child’s safety at risk, there are certain steps that you need to take. Contact your Orlando divorce lawyer, to ensure that your case is handled appropriately, and your rights are protected.
Sharing a child with an ex partner can be emotionally and legally complicated. The court places great weight on parental rights and child custody determinations while operating under the standard of “best interest of the child.” Therefore, the court requires certain steps be taken prior to any modification of a child custody order and this may take a great deal of time. However, when certain instances arise, it may be prudent to take immediate action. Your Orlando Child Custody Attorney can walk you through every step and discuss with you, options on how to approach every situation and discuss whether or not your situation qualifies as an emergency in the eyes of the court.
Emergency action to take custody of a child is governed by Florida Statute 61.534. When an emergency arises, the State of Florida grants parents the ability to seek an emergency hearing to obtain custody of a child who may be in danger. However, only on the rare occasion does the court find in necessary to qualify a case as emergency. To succeed as an emergency the court will look to the safety of the child and immediate need to facilitate a safe environment. The safety of a child is of the utmost importance and is the basis of any determination of an emergency action. Emergency status is only awarded when “the child is likely to imminently suffer serious physical harm or removal from this state.” This includes, a credible threat to abduct or harm the child, signs of abuse or neglect, substance abuse or any other major changes that place the child in immediate danger. If the court does not find these qualifications present, your petition will be denied and you will need to proceed through a regular modification process.
If an emergency hearing is granted, the normal due process requirements are bypassed. Meaning, there will be no notification or service upon the other party and their opportunity to be heard will be removed in the initial determination proceeding. Florida statute requires the judge to make specific findings that the child is in fact in danger and in need of emergent removal. Upon this finding, the court will issue a warrant for the immediate removal of the child. This warrant is typically managed by local police or sheriff department. After removal, a hearing is required with all parties the following day. From this point, due process is reinstated and each party must be properly notified and given opportunity to be heard before the court.
If you truly believe that your child is in danger from continued exposure to your partner, your Orlando Child Custody Attorney will immediately move to assist you in obtaining temporary custody in the face of the emergency. Once you obtain temporary protective custody, your attorney will then move through the normal court process to have your custody become permanent. If you are in need of immediate assistance to petition the court based on an emergency situation that has placed your child in danger, contact an Orlando Child Custody Attorney who will ensure that the best interests of your child are protected.
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