Emergency Custody Orders: But Will The Judge Agree?
Tips to consider when getting an emergency order
Far too often parents rush to the courthouse to try and get emergency custody orders. It is not surprising. Parents going through a messy divorce or custody case are extremely stressed out.
Little things bother parents more than normal, and parents are more than willing to do anything to win over their kids. However, this technique of getting emergency orders from the court is becoming less and less successful. The family courts see everything, and what you might think is an emergency, might be nothing to the judge.
So what should you consider before you head down to the courthouse to file for an emergency order?
1. Is it really an emergency?
It is important to think about this question first before you begin drafting the paperwork for the emergency. Have you recently gotten into a fight with the other parent? Is the other parent dating someone new and it made you angry? Think about what has been going on recently between you and the other parent. Are you really filing for emergency custody because it is in the best interest of your child, or is it to get back at your ex for something?
2. Is your child going to be in immediate danger or will he/she suffer from irreparable harm if the order is not filed?
If you already have most of the parenting time of your child, is your child actually going to be in danger or harmed if your child is returned to the other parent? What did the other parent actually do that led you to filing this emergency order? Did the other parent have a Christmas party, have a little too much to drink, and drove?
Something like that is probably not a basis for an emergency order. The other parent may have been stupid, but was your child in any danger? Has this parent ever driven drunk with the child in the car before?
Contrast that example to a parent who beat their child during his or her parenting time. Obviously here, it is very clear that the child will remain in danger if they stay with that parent.
3. Do you have evidence to back up your allegations?
Most of the time the court will want to see actual evidence to back up your allegations in your emergency order. If you show up to court and state that the other parent is doing drugs with your child at the home, you must have some evidence to support this. Do you have a photo of the other parent doing drugs? Was there a witness who saw this?
If evidence were not required, then parents would be filing for emergency orders all of the time. Try to have that evidence with you at the time you are requesting the order. Don’t show up and say you have it on your phone or somewhere else. Bring the physical evidence with you and have it printed and ready to show the judge.
4. Do not wait
If you believe there is an actual emergency and your child is in danger and may be subject to irreparable harm if returned to the other parent or if the other parent has notice of your filing, then do not wait to file for the emergency order. If you knew about something that could harm your child months ago, do not wait to file five months later.
The judge is going to severely question why you waited so long to bring this issue to his or her attention. In fact, the judge may think that you are either making it up at this point, or that it really isn’t an emergency since you did not file for it months ago.