How To Get Emergency Custody Of Children


If you believe that a child or group of children is being threatened, abused or is subject to imminent harm by a parent, you can try to get emergency custody of those children. In addition, if it becomes clear to you that the parent of a child is abusing illegal substances or has abandoned their child, you can go through the steps to get emergency custody. If you do seek emergency custody, it should only be for circumstances that are deemed as serious threats to a child.

Who To Contact

If you see signs of abuse, child abandonment or other serious problems associated with a child, you will need to contact the closest Family Court that is located in your County. Unfortunately, municipalities, counties and states do not have the same regulations regarding family law issues. It’s best to contact the County Clerk’s office in your city to get started. They can direct you to the court that has jurisdiction regarding custody issues with children.

Gathering Documentation

Once you locate the correct department that handles child custody issues, you’ll need to gather documentation that solidifies and supports your reasoning for seeking out an emergency custody claim. Appropriate documents to gather include police reports, medical records, records of abuse or protection orders. You can also use evaluations that have been completed by a child psychiatrist, records from Child Protective Services and the criminal record of the child’s parents, which may show a history of violent crimes or sexual offenses.

Filing A Petition

Due to the extreme circumstances of this request, contact does not have to be made with the child’s parents.

When you fill out the petition, it will ask you for information about yourself and the children who are at risk. You also need to describe the situation in full detail and give reasons why you believe that the court should grant you emergency custody of the children.

When filling out the details, use only facts and back them up with documentation and supportive data. It’s best if you make copies of documentation or reports that support your claim and include them with the petition. You should also make a physical file of your supportive material so that you can bring it to any court hearings that are held.

You have two options for filing the petition — filing personally in the proper court or via certified mail. To locate the appropriate address, you need to contact the local court that handles family issues. They can provide an address as well as a physical location that you can go to.

Receiving The Petition And Court Hearing

After the court receives a petition from you, they will set a date in court to discuss the matter. Gather your documentation and attend the court hearing on the appropriate date.

You should understand that if emergency custody is granted, it will only be temporary. If you want to file for permanent custody of a child, you will be required to go through the process to initiate that change.