Call for a Free Consultation for your Massachusetts case.
 (855) 941-0909

Emergency Temporary Custody

Obtaining Emergency Temporary Custody

Custody issues throughout any divorce settlement process can be one of the most contested and heated aspects of family law. Implementing and solidifying a temporary custody order, or making any significant changes to existing custody arrangements, tends to be a lot more difficult than most parents would originally assume.

Most courts throughout Massachusetts and the entire country will primarily consider the best interests of the child as the top priority throughout the process of any emergency child custody hearing, which subsequently places an added amount of pressure on the custodial parent to present evidence of abuse to substantiate their emergency claim for custody of the children.

A general rule of thumb pertaining to an emergency motion is that a parent may seek emergency temporary custody when the other parent presents an immediate danger to a child. Some common emergency issues include substance abuse, alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and other forms of abuse or neglect by a parent, including abandonment and other reckless or threatening behavior. When any opposing party exemplifies any evidence of abuse, especially involving a minor child, the need for child custody agreement changes can constitute grounds for an emergency custody order.

If you believe that the actions of your spouse or ex-spouse are endangering your child, what steps should you take to obtain emergency temporary custody? On this page, we’re going to go over all of the details a parent should understand when it comes to this type of emergency order, and how our team will be able to provide you with the necessary legal advice and leadership to ensure a successful emergency custody hearing. 

Contact us today for a free consultation so we can better understand the child custody situation your family is currently facing, and begin putting you in the right direction towards correctly filing a court order and getting your children out of the current emergency situation.

Requesting Emergency Temporary Custody

To begin the process, it’s important to work with an experienced divorce and family law attorney that has years of experience with child custody disputes, particularly emergency custody orders. Gabriel Cheong, Esq. has helped countless past clients with emergency child custody orders and also has the necessary long-term relationship with child protective services that will put you and your emergency situation in good hands. We’ll be more than capable of providing you with legal advice that properly helps you establish the next steps to take with your custody order, as well as ensure you’re filing within the correct court that technically has jurisdiction over your case.

One of the most important steps a parent must take within the preparation stages of a temporary custody hearing is to comprehensively compile documentation that supports your request for emergency temporary custody. Some examples of appropriate documentation may include things like police reports, evaluations from child psychologists and doctors, medical records, criminal records, text messages, child support and visitation rights records, among many other forms of documentation.

It’s important to know that you won’t be compiling this type of information alone and that we’ll assist you throughout each step of the process when completing a petition for emergency custody. This petition will ultimately entail a lot of necessary information pertaining to your request for temporary custody, including thorough descriptions of the reasons for emergency custody and supporting documentation and any evidence of abuse you have that backs up this request. Because of the urgent nature of an emergency custody request, you may not be required to notify the other parent of your intent to seek temporary emergency custody prior to filing the court order.

Depending on the court where you’ll file the paperwork, you may need to send your petition by certified mail or deliver it to the court in person. After the court receives your petition you will be notified of a hearing date, which will then allow our team the necessary time to help prepare you for the hearing that we’ll, of course, attend with you.

What Happens in an Emergency Custody Hearing?

In these types of child custody hearings, your legal team will present the court with all relevant preliminary evidence in a motion for emergency temporary custody, and a judge will address the family’s emergency situation. The judge may give temporary full custody to only one parent based on the information and evidence presented in the hearing, but it’s always necessary to have experienced family law experts by your side no matter what evidence of abuse is presented in the emergency hearing.

Parents must understand that the court will not hear requests for emergency temporary custody in situations that are not truly urgent or dire. For example, a dispute over visitation rights would not rise to the standard of an emergency motion. In addition, a violation of an existing child custody order typically would not be addressed through this caliber of hearing.

Emergency hearings address conditions that immediately imperil the health or well-being of a child. Neglect or abuse, extreme substance abuse by the custodial parent, or a sex offender living with the family, all could constitute emergency situations that would warrant a hearing for emergency temporary custody. Custody cases of this magnitude must be treated with the utmost respect by all participating parties, primarily because the best interests of the children are at stake and a judge will always reward custody of the children based upon what their best interest ultimately will be for the foreseeable future.

Emergency Temporary Custody in Massachusetts

The emergency temporary custody process is not used to change other types of custody orders in Massachusetts. If you currently have a temporary order, we’ll be happy to assist you in filing a motion to request a change that better fulfills your custody interests. 

If you currently have a final order pertaining to your family’s child custody, known as a judgment, we can help you file a Complaint for Modification with the Probate and Family Court. You will need to convince the court that the existing order no longer serves the best interests or welfare of your child and that the custody arrangements require certain necessary changes.

In most states, the temporary emergency custody process is subject to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. Under the law, individuals can request temporary emergency custody under certain circumstances in states that do not serve as home to the child. If the child is currently in the non-home state and the child was abandoned or needs protection, a parent can seek temporary emergency custody. Individuals also can seek temporary emergency custody if the child’s sibling or parent is abused or threatened.

However, Massachusetts uses a different law, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act, which allows emergency custody only if a child was abandoned, threatened or abused. The law does not apply in cases of abuse or threats directed to the child’s sibling or parent. Your attorney can help you understand the specifics of Massachusetts laws relating to emergency temporary custody.

If you believe that your child is in danger and you need to obtain emergency temporary custody, it is vital that you work with an experienced family law attorney. 

To speak with an attorney in the Boston, Quincy or Needham areas, please contact Infinity Law Group so we can better understand your family’s child custody arrangements and begin putting you and your children in the very best position for a safe and healthy future via your best available legal strategies.