Can I Get an Emergency Child Custody Order?

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “What can I do to gain custody of my child in North Carolina?”


Divorce is never easy, but when you have children, divorce can be much more complicated. There are many issues that involve the kids, and parents must work to resolve them as best they can. Of all the many matters that pertain to children in divorce, one of the most important and the most urgent is the issue of where the children will reside. Usually, children will remain with one parent while parents work out the divorce. This is generally an acceptable solution for the short-term. However, there are some instances in which a parent may want to make sure that they obtain an immediate custody order. This is called an emergency child custody order or an ex-parte request.


emergency-custody-Charlotte-Monroe-Mooresville-Child-custody-attorney-300x225What is an Emergency Child Custody Order?


An emergency child custody order, an ex-parte order, is a temporary court order that provides for the legal residence of a child. An emergency child custody order is most often necessary in cases where the parents have decided to separate and divorce and a parent feels that the child could be in danger. This type of order is temporary and is usually in effect only until the divorce is finalized. At that time, the court will order permanent child custody after hearing all of the details of the matter. Keep in mind that the court will always take steps to protect the well-being of a child whenever possible.


Do I Need an Emergency Child Custody Order?


Not everyone needs an emergency child custody order and their use is limited. However, there are some circumstances in which a parent may need to seek a court order in a hurry. Typically, the most common situation that may require such an order is when there are allegations of domestic violence or abuse. The courts will always act in the best interest of a child and will try to protect the needs and rights of a child. The parent may file for an emergency child custody order if the child is in imminent danger of physical or other harm.


As a parent, you never want to put your child in harm’s way. The possibility that your child could suffer harm at the hands of the other parent could cause you serious stress and you may be extremely afraid. When a child is believed to be in imminent danger, you have the responsibility to try to protect them from harm. At the same time, you should never file for a frivolous emergency order. When you file an order the party that you filed the complaint against will have a period of 10 days to provide a response. In an emergency situation, the party has five days to respond and the court will schedule a hearing.


How Do I Request an Emergency Child Custody Order?


The first step in the process is to file an emergency request with the district court. The court has an obligation to review the matter as quickly as possible, typically within 72 hours. An emergency order will be put in place if the facts of the situation warrant one. Then, the court schedules a hearing to review the matter more closely. Both parties are required to attend a court hearing, which is usually scheduled rather quickly. Representation by an attorney makes the matter easier to understand and navigate through the courts.


If you are involved in a contentious divorce with a parent that could be violent or abusive, do not wait to seek help. Go to the court and request help. Get a phone, video or in-person consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today or find additional resources here.







The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.





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