Divorce and family law can often be a waiting game, but sometimes you have good reason to need to move faster. If you or your child is potentially in danger, you may need to push for an emergency custody order. Here is everything you need to know about emergency custody and how to get it in Arizona.
What Is Emergency Custody?
Emergency custody is a temporary order that gives one parent sole legal and physical custody. All decision-making rights and parenting time will reside with that parent until the court has a chance to consider the case. The only reason Arizona courts will grant emergency custody is if they believe it’s necessary to keep the child safe, so you’ll have to have valid cause for seeking emergency custody.
Qualifications for Emergency Custody
In order to qualify for emergency custody, you’ll have to be able to convince the court that your child is in serious danger. You’ll need to be able to provide evidence to support your claims, and you could lose temporary custody or a contempt of court charge if you aren’t honest. You also need to be pursuing a either a divorce or a change in custody at the same time.
What Happens Next?
Before you seek an emergency custody order, you are required to notify your co-parent that you intend to do so, unless you can honestly say that notifying them would place either you or your child in immediate danger. Next you’ll need to file your petition with the court.The judge will read the verified pleadings and usually decide without a hearing as to why your child’s safety is believed to be at risk. If the judge feels the concern is valid, they will issue an emergency custody order granting you sole custody until the return hearing. You will then need to serve your co-parent with the emergency custody order and the date for the hearing on emergency temporary orders, at which time both of you will have an opportunity to present your cases in full.
Making Decisions in the Best Interests of the Child
Emergency custody is difficult to get, and depends on factors such as the judge, the situation, and whether you and your attorney are able to present a strong case. If the judge declines to issue an emergency order, it doesn’t mean that they don’t view your situation as serious. The judge may issue an Order to Appear on Temporary Orders. Remember that Arizona family courts try to decide everything with the best interests of the child in mind, and in most situations, that means preserving the relationship between the child and both parents.
If Emergency Orders Are Denied
If the court decides an emergency order is unnecessary, they could do one of two things. They may decline the emergency order and make you wait until the regular custody hearing to present your case again. Sometimes, however, the judge will see the urgency in your situation, even if they don’t view it as cause for an emergency order. If that is the case, they may schedule another hearing for expedited temporary orders.
The Importance of a Family Law Attorney
Emergency custody orders may be hard to get in Arizona, but you can set yourself up for success by having an experienced family law attorney to present your case for you. To schedule a consultation and discuss your options, contact Simon Law Group, PLLC, today.