Decisions regarding child custody involve a determination of what is in the best interest of the child involved. The primary concern of the court is the child’s health, safety, and welfare.
Child custody cases are especially important if they involve a situation where the other parent is in jail or prison. When a parent is in jail or prison, a child’s life can quickly be thrown into disarray. If two parents share custody, the other parent may move to gain full custody of the child.
Important Steps to Take After Learning The Custodial Parent Is Incarcerated
If you find out that a custodial parent is in jail or prison, you need to take several important steps to ensure the safety of the child. If you are the other custodial parent, you have the option of filing a motion to modify custody and asking the court to protect your child from the incarcerated parent. In most cases, you may be able to file for emergency custody of your child.
If you are not the other parent, you may also have certain options. Below are some important steps you should take:
- You should immediately contact the appropriate agency. In most states, the agency is called Child Protective Services or the Department of Family and Children’s Services. If the other parent is not available, CPS or DFCS will most likely take temporary custody. You should notify them that you are a relative or a friend and interested in seeking guardianship. Your request needs to be approved by CPS and DFCS.
- Next, you need to file a motion for temporary guardianship in the family court where the child is currently residing. The petition should be detailed as to the amount of time you are seeking the guardianship. If you fail to state a specific time period, courts will often grant guardianship for a pre-set period, which may result in unnecessary disruption in the child’s life.
- Be prepared to answer questions in the guardianship investigation process. If you and the child are already living together, the court may grant the guardianship after only a brief investigation. If the child does not currently reside with you, the investigation may involve a longer process.
- You need to present evidence that you can provide a loving, stable home for the child. Although not all guardianship proceeds require a hearing, you need to be prepared in the event that you need to go to court and present your case. If another individual is also seeking guardianship, you need to prove that you will be able to provide a better home for the child.
Call an Experienced Fresno Family Law Attorney
If you are involved in a custody battle, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced family law attorney to help you learn your legal rights and options with respect to your child custody rights.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with Fresno family law attorney Gurjit Srai, please call (209) 323-5558 or (559) 449-1447, or complete our online form.