Sometimes, child custody is a matter of safety. But custody agreements don't usually happen overnight and could the child's wellbeing in a state of flux during court proceedings. In California, you can request an emergency child custody or visitation order to protect your child from harm.
"When can I use an emergency child custody order?"
The Judicial Branch of California (the California Courts) states that an emergency child custody order is appropriate under these circumstances:
- Any situation that occurs – or might occur – that makes an emergency court order in the "best interest" of the child. In this situation, you should already have an open family law case with the court.
You will not be allowed to file for emergency child custody if another court, such as Juvenile Court, made a conflicting custody determination regarding the same child or children.
Instructions for Emergency Child Custody
First, you must fill out these four separate forms:
- Form #FL-300, Order to Show Cause
- Form #FL-305, Temporary Orders
- Form #FL-310, Application for Order and Supporting Declaration
- Form #FL-330, Proof of Service Form
Then, make copies of each form (between four and six copies). These will be for yourself, two copies for the child's other parent, and one copy for the California Department of Child Support Services (DCSS), if it is involved in your case. If the child is not in immediate danger, give one unfiled copy of each form to the opposing parent or his / her lawyer.
If the child is in immediate danger, speak with your attorney to see if you can avoid giving the other parent advance notice of your petition for emergency custody.
Finally, fill out a Declaration in Support of Ex Parte Application for Orders form and turn your paperwork into the Court.
After You File
After filing, you may pick up your papers from the Clerk's Office; they are now read to be served. As a parent, you cannot personally serve the papers. A legal adult or professional process server can take the papers to the other parent. The following filed paperwork must be hand-delivered to the child's other parent:
- The Order to Show Cause, signed by the Judge
- Temporary Orders
- Declaration in Support of Ex Parte Application for Orders
- Application for order and Supporting Declaration
- A blank Responsive Declaration for the opposing paper to fill out
"Do I need an attorney to file for emergency custody?"
You are not required to retain a legal representative, but the legal process surrounding any type of child custody case can be complicated. Without a lawyer, you may have difficulty obtain the case outcome that you and your child(ren) need. Don't risk your child's safety and wellbeing; contact our Modesto child custody attorney to see what a topnotch legal representative can do for you. Attorney Scott Mitchell has handled well over 1,500 family law cases and is ready to put this experience to work for you.
Call (209) 529-7406 for a free consultation with Scott Mitchell Law Offices!