Emergency Child Custody Order Attorney in Chester County, PA
Swift Changes to Custody Agreements
Pennsylvania family law courts prefer for parents to resolve custody disputes with a judge’s intervention, but one can provide swift action in emergency situations. A judge can grant one parent emergency sole custody in cases of child abuse, domestic violence, child endangerment, and parental kidnapping. Given how serious these situations are, it is important to have a skilled attorney at your side to help you navigate the family law proceedings.
At the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., our Chester County child custody attorney can use her knowledge and experience with local courts to explain your rights in a custody dispute. Whether you need to file for emergency custody or fight an emergency order, she will provide an honest assessment of your case and outline how to protect your relationship with your child. To discuss your case in a free consultation, call us toll-free at (866) 290-9292.
When Do Judges Issue Emergency Custody Orders?
Chester County judges have a duty to advocate for the health and well-being of children in child custody disputes. Generally, judges believe that having both parents in a child’s life is important and will work to giving both parents equal time in a parenting plan. However, if a judge determines that a parent poses a danger to the child’s safety, he or she can issue an emergency custody order to the other parent.
The goal of the emergency order is to secure a child’s safety by granting custody to a responsible party who can take care of them and make important decisions about their well-being. Emergency custody is temporary until a court can issue a final order that may change the original custody agreement.
Scenarios where a judge will issue an emergency custody order include:
- Parental kidnapping where one custodial parent refuses to give a child back to the other custodial parent according to allotted parenting time
- Child endangerment, such as drinking and driving with a child in the car
- Child abuse
- Domestic violence or criminal threats against the other custodial parent
- Abandonment or neglect
- A custodial parent has been arrested, charged with a serious crime, or sent to jail or prison
- A custodial or non-custodial parent illegally relocates a child out of the state or country
- A custodial parent has failed to meet a child’s basic needs or safety, such as housing them in an unsafe or unsanitary home
How Do I Get Emergency Custody?
In order to be granted emergency custody, you must prove to a family law court that a custodial parent is unfit to take care of the child and that granting custody to you would protect the child’s well-being and safety. Emergency custody can be granted to the other parent or to a non-custodial parent, such as a legal guardian, grandparent, other adult family member, or a party the court deems responsible enough to take care of the child.
To begin, you will need to file an Emergency Petition for Special Relief with a Chester County family law court, which will summarize your request to be granted sole physical and legal custody and why you should be granted custody. Upon filing this petition, the court will schedule a hearing with a judge to review the petition.
Normally, petitions for custody modifications require you to inform the custodial parent of the request, but special relief petitions allow you to get the case in front of a judge immediately. A judge may forgo contacting the custodial parent under “extraordinary circumstances” or to “protect the mental or physical well-being of a child or children,” according to Chester County Family Law Rule 1915.13.A.
When meeting with a judge, you will need to clearly show why the custodial parent is a danger to your child or is unfit to care for them. This includes presenting evidence of abuse, criminal charges, or an illegal child relocation. If a judge agrees that an emergency custody order is necessary for the child’s safety, you may be granted one immediately.
However, as noted earlier, these orders are temporary until a final order can be issued. After issuing an emergency custody order, the court will schedule a hearing to review the details of the case, hear witness testimony, allow the custodial parent to fight the order, and evaluate if a custody agreement needs to change. If you need to receive emergency custody, it is important to have strong legal representation every step of the way.
Can I Fight an Emergency Custody Order?
A custodial parent can be blindsided by an emergency custody order. Chester County court proceedings allow other parents or petitioners to receive emergency custody without informing a custodial parent, and you may suddenly have your child taken from you without a clear understanding of what triggered the change. However, you can fight against an emergency order during a custody hearing to protect your rights as a parent.
If your child’s other parent or guardian received an emergency custody order against you, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options. The Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. can explain your rights in a free consultation, review the evidence against you, and explain how to move forward with disputing an emergency order and getting your custody rights back.
Protecting Your Family Today
Unlike other family law issues that can take months to be resolved, emergency custody can be decided swiftly. Courts will act fast to protect a child’s safety and well-being, and with serious criminal allegations, local police may become involved. On both sides of a case, speaking to an experienced family law attorney can prove invaluable.
Our experienced Chester County family law attorney at the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. can provide the thorough legal representation you need during this difficult time in your life. Throughout her more than 25 years of experience, our lead attorney has worked closely with every client to understand the nature of their custody dispute and has expertly navigated the Chester County court system to assist clients with complex family law issues. We can discuss your case in a free consultation and break down the necessary steps to safeguard your family’s well-being. Call us today toll-free at (866) 290-9292 and get started on your case.