What is 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?”


Determining child custody during a divorce can be a difficult process for every party involved. Tension might be filling the air and emotions are likely running high. Child custody orders are usually done in conjunction with both parties and looking out for the best interest of the child. However, there are instances in which an emergency child custody order might be entered. An emergency child custody order is a request by one party for immediate custody of the child that does not provide notice to the other party before the order is entered. Usually, emergency child custody orders are for the custody of minor children.


emergency-exit-Charlotte-Monroe-Lake-Norman-Child-Custody-Lawyers-300x225Obtaining an Emergency Order


In order to even file to obtain an emergency child custody order, there needs to be an underlying petition. This means that there needs to be a petition for divorce, modification, or establishment before the child custody order can be filed. Both the underlying petition and the motion for emergency child custody can be filed with the courts at the same time.


An emergency child custody order is only a temporary grant of custody. In order to receive this temporary child custody order, there are specific things that must be included in the motion for custody. Most importantly, the circumstances of the emergency must be explained in the motion, as well as the reasons the judge should grant the order without notifying the other party. It is important to state the specific reasons for the emergency, like the reasons a child might be in immediate danger.


One of the main reasons that a party makes a motion for emergency custody is because the child might be in immediate danger of harm. It is the judges discretion to determine what constitutes danger and harm. Therefore, it is important to have as much evidence as possible to prove that that your child might be harmed, or has already been harmed and it is likely going to happen again. Strong evidence includes pictures, text messages, and various reports are just a few ways to prove harm. Additionally, presenting evidence of heavy drug or alcohol use by the other party could be beneficial in an emergency child custody order.


Filing the Order


After a draft of the petition and emergency motion has been drafted, evidence has been collected and ready to be presented, it is time to file the emergency motion with the court. Since this is an emergency order, it is important to act quickly for the safety and security of the children involved. You want you motion and supporting documents to be in the hands of the judge as soon as possible so the judge can make a decision. Once the judge makes a ruling, it immediately goes into effect. If the emergency child custody order is granted, the opposing party will be notified. The order only lasts until the next hearing date.


If you need help with child custody, whether emergency or not, contact the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC. We know that negotiating your divorce and child custody can be difficult, but we work diligently to look out for your needs and the best interest of the children. Contact us today for a consultation. If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter and need the help of experienced family-law attorneys in or around Charlotte, Lake Norman, or our new office in Monroe (by appointment only until spring 2019), please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828 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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