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The Top 5 Legal Factors That Can Lead to Emergency Custody

The number of children in America with cohabitating parents is on the rise. However, thousands of families still negotiate custody arrangements each year.

In dire situations, there’s little room for negotiation. For the safety of the child or children, the court may grant a temporary emergency custody order to one parent or caregiver.

What are the grounds for emergency custody? What conditions must you prove exist in order to gain emergency custody?

Read on for five top reasons for emergency custody in the US.

1. Domestic Violence

If a divorce or separation results from domestic violence, the victim has grounds to file for emergency custody. This is true even if the perpetrator never directly abused the child.

You can also file for emergency custody if domestic violence is occurring in the other parent’s household, whether the abuser is the other parent or not. The presence of domestic violence is inherently harmful to children. 

2. Abuse or Neglect

If you are concerned that your child is abused or neglected when in the other parent’s custody, talk to experienced custody lawyers. This includes verbal and emotional abuse.

While abuse can be easy to spot, what constitutes neglect may depend on the child’s age and abilities. 

3. Incarceration

If your child’s other parent is arrested and incarcerated, you may need to seek temporary custody before modifying your custody agreement for the long term.

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If you have reason to believe that your child’s other parent is participating in illegal activities, talk to a lawyer. This is especially important if those activities could put the child in harm’s way, such as using drugs or driving while impaired.

4. Caregiver Health

If your child’s other parent can no longer care for themselves (or their medical care precludes them from caring for your child), you may have grounds to seek emergency custody.

The court will consider factors related to both physical and mental health. Keep in mind that this is reserved for serious, life-altering conditions, not for manageable ailments or mental health disorders.

5. The Presence of Dangerous People

While legal vs physical custody is not the same, a parent with any form of custody has some degree of freedom in choosing who their child is around. If the people in your child’s other parent’s life are not safe for your child, you may be able to file for emergency custody.

For example, if your child is forced to live with or be around a registered sex offender, this is typically grounds for an emergency custody order. The same is true if someone living in that household is violent or participates in illegal activities. 

Consult an Attorney About Reasons for Emergency Custody

More often than not, the court will take its time to arbitrate matters of child custody. However, some situations call for a fast decision. If you believe your child is facing one or more reasons for emergency custody, talk to an experienced custody lawyer.

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