Emergency Child Custody Order Attorney in Pennsylvania
What Is an Emergency Child Custody Order
A typical child custody case may take up to a year, sometimes longer, to get settled in Pennsylvania; however, there are special cases where temporary custody can be granted immediately. If a child is being put at risk, in immediate physical danger, or about to be removed from the court’s jurisdiction, a petition for emergency custody can be filed. Situations include if one of the parents has had a drug relapse; or has been charged with a violent crime such as homicide, aggravated assault, terrorist threats, stalking, false imprisonment, or arson; or has been charged with contempt of an existing custody order.
Who Can File for Emergency Custody?
Non-custodial parents, relatives, and guardians have the right to file for emergency custody if the custodial parent is unfit or a danger to the child. If you know a child is being abused or neglected, do not hesitate to take action because you think you have no rights. Get a Montgomery County child custody lawyer, explain the situation to law enforcement, and provide whatever proof you can to support your claim.
How to File Emergency Custody
Seeking emergency custody should only be done if it is an absolute emergency. The courts take allegations of child abuse and neglect very seriously. Should a parent or relative file under false pretenses, he or she is likely to lose custody once the courts discover the deception.
If you are in a situation where you fear for your child’s safety around the other parent, follow the steps below to file an emergency custody order:
- Step One: Figure out who to call. If you do not know what court handles family law or which jurisdiction you are in, please contact the clerk of courts for your county so they can provide all the contact information you will need.
- Step Two: Gather the appropriate documentation to support your emergency custody claim. Examples include medical records, police reports, protective order proceedings, CPS records, child psychiatrist evaluations, and proof of the offending parent’s prior convictions, such as sex offenses.
- Step Three: Get a lawyer to assist you in filling out and filing the petition. Thing will run a lot smoother if an experienced Pennsylvania family lawyer is handling your petition. The hearing will be "ex parte," meaning you do not have to notify the abusive parent that you are seeking emergency custody. You will also need identification paperwork for you and the child, along with the information supporting why you are seeking emergency custody. Once the court receives your petition, you will get your emergency hearing date.
About Emergency Custody Rulings
It is important to understand that the emergency hearing rulings are temporary. Once emergency custody is granted, you still have to go through the normal back-and-forth process to change the final custody agreement. The emergency ruling is there to remove the child from a dangerous situation as soon as possible, and neglecting to follow through and permanently change the custody agreement could result in the child being placed back into the abusive parent’s home. Or, if you refuse to relinquish custody, cause you to be penalized for not following the custody agreement.
Contact a Pennsylvania Family Lawyer Right Away
As parents, we do everything in our power to ensure that our kids are always safe. Protecting a child from his or her own parent introduces more challenges and the situation needs to be handled as efficiently as possible. Our lawyers at the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., can guide you through this process professionally. We always provide options that are in the best interest of the child. We are equipped with over 20 years of family law experience and can answer any question you may have regarding emergency custody orders and child custody proceedings. Contact our office at (866) 290-9292 for a free consultation if you or someone you know feels a child may be in danger.
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