It depends on what you consider an emergency, but yes. If the emergency is that your ex has put or will put the children into a situation where they will be at substantial risk of bodily injury or sexual abuse, or if they plan to take the children out of state to avoid their obligations, you may be able to get an emergency custody order.
This order, which is sometimes called an “ex parte” order, can be done on an immediate, short-term basis without having your ex involved. However, as soon as it is issued, the court will schedule a hearing that will allow your ex to be heard.
What can I expect?
If you need immediate, temporary custody of your kids to keep them safe, you should consider hiring an attorney because this area of law is quite complex.
Basically, you will file a petition with the family court in your county for an ex parte/emergency order. In your petition, you will explain why you believe your ex is jeopardizing the children’s safety or plans to remove them from the state.
Based on your petition, an emergency hearing will be scheduled. Your ex will not be at this hearing. In the hearing, you will explain your position and provide any concrete evidence you have to show that your children are in immediate danger of physical or sexual abuse, or that your ex plans to remove them from the state.
The judge will listen to your evidence and either grant the emergency custody order or not. If the order is granted, you can ask law enforcement to recover your children and bring them to you. Also, the court will schedule a hearing that will allow your ex to explain things from their point of view.
The court may order you to undertake custody mediation. If you are ordered to do this, you should do it. If you and your ex are able to come to a reasonable resolution, you may avoid further court action. However, it may not be possible to come to a resolution through mediation if you can’t trust that your ex will follow the agreement.
What happens at the hearing with my ex?
Even if the court grants your petition for emergency custody, you still have to go through a hearing that will allow your ex to have their say. At that hearing, the judge will consider the best interest of your children when determining the most appropriate temporary custody arrangement.
Naturally, if your ex is prone to put your children in dangerous positions or if they may try to leave the state, these things would count against them in the hearing. Ultimately, the court will consider all relevant factors to determine what is in your children’s best interest.
If you feel you need emergency custody of your kids, you must be desperate with worry. Get help from an attorney who will go the extra mile to protect your children.