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Emergency Child Custody Orders in Florida


The process for determining child custody can seem like a painfully slow process. However, there are several situations where Florida laws allow for emergency child custody hearings if there is reason to believe the child is in danger.

Given that custody is an emotionally charged situation, many people may feel their situation qualifies as an emergency, but the courts strictly adhere to the laws in place. It’s important to speak with a knowledgeable Boca Raton child-custody attorney to determine whether you have a true emergency or not. Emergency relief is rare, and the reason is because it deprives the opposing side of their rights. You must be able to demonstrate that there is an immediate threat of imminent danger and the child’s safety outweighs the parent’s rights.

How to Get an Emergency Hearing 

You must petition the court for an emergency hearing. While it’s typically one parent who files the order, there are situations where another family member may file. For a potential father who has not yet established paternity, you may have difficulty, which is why speaking with a knowledgeable attorney is so important in these situations.

It’s not recommended that you remove the child without authorization or you may find yourself in legal trouble. If it’s a matter of life and death, then it’s best to contact the police right away rather than putting yourself or your child further at risk. If the police determine that the risk is not as bad as you reported, there is at least a record of police intervention which may be important down the line.

How Hearings Work

The court will not hear all matters related to custody, but only what is related to the emergency filing. The attorney you hire to represent you will present evidence that your ex is putting your child in harm’s way. Evidence can include child protective services’ reports, police reports, medical reports, witness testimony, and any other information or documentation that your attorney feels supports your position. The court has the right to conduct further research and may ask a medical expert to interview the child.

Once the hearing is concluded, the court has the discretion to issue a temporary order if it’s in the best interest of the child. As its name suggests, it’s only temporary, pending a full trial. The court order can vary based on individual circumstances. It may transfer custody or require the other parent to attend anger management classes or parenting education courses. The court may or may not grant visitation to the other parent despite the temporary custody order.

Full Trial for Custody

Once the full trial occurs, the temporary order will either be modified or terminated. Depending on the reasons for the temporary custody order, the judge may still opt to grant joint custody or visitation if your ex can show the danger no longer exists. For example, if drug use was the reason for the temporary order and he or she can now present compelling evidence that they are clean and underwent treatment, the court may still allow them to see the child.

Retaining a Florida Child Custody Attorney

Courts in Florida will issue a custody order based on what’s best for the child. Having a skilled attorney on your side can make a difference if you believe your child is truly in danger. Contact the Law Offices of Schwartz | White at 561-391-9943 to schedule a consultation.

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