When it comes to family legal battles, especially those involving children, certain issues could be more pressing than others, requiring quick and emergency action. California courts recognize the urgency in such cases and the law allows one parent to file an emergency child custody order in certain situations. This type of order is an ex parte order that is issued by the court in the absence of one parent. This emergency hearing and order is granted when the applying parent proves their child is at an immediate risk of harm, danger or abduction.
Emergency child custody orders are temporary, not permanent, and only limited to situations that cannot await a hearing next available on the court’s regular calendar. In order for you to successfully file an ex parte child custody hearing, you must prove there is a true legal emergency that cannot wait for the other party to file a response in order to be heard by the judge.
Situations that Allow an Emergency Change in Child Custody
California emergency child custody hearings are allowed in situations that place the welfare or health of a child in danger. These include a wide variety of situations, including but not limited to:
- One parent has been arrested for use of drugs, driving under the influence, another serious crime
- One parent is suffering from a mental or physical illness that prevents them from caring for the child or could possibly place the child safety in imminent danger
- There is some type of indication of domestic violence in the other parent’s household.
- There is some evidence that the child is being sexually abused or assaulted
- There is some evidence that the child is being physically abused or neglected
- There is some evidence that a sex offender is living in the other parent’s household
In order to successfully file an ex parte child custody hearing and effect a change in your child custody arrangement, you must prove one of these above situations.
What Happens at an Emergency Child Custody Order?
A judge at a California child custody hearing will only hear and allow evidence that prove your child could be immediately at risk of harm or danger or could be removed from the state without issuing emergency court orders. The judge will not allow you to introduce any other evidence pertaining to any issue.
Any of the following or none at all, may be issued by the judge at your ex parte child custody hearing:
- Allow evidence to be heard on the emergency situation
- Appoint a guardian ad litem, child psychologist, or minor’s counsel to conduct an investigation into your allegations
- Issue a temporary order to allow changes to your child custody arrangement
Call an Experienced Central Valley Child Custody Attorney
If you are involved in a child custody battle or simply have questions regarding child custody, it is important that you have a knowledgeable attorney fighting for your rights. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with a Central Valley child custody attorney, please call Gurjit Srai (209) 323-5558 or complete our online form.