What Are Grounds for Emergency Custody in California?

In most situations, California courts do not issue orders until they have had ample time to consider the case. The court will make immediate orders, however, if the decision is in the best interest of the child. Grounds for emergency custody in California may include:

  • Domestic violence
  • Child abuse or neglect
  • A parent’s arrest for drug use, drunk driving, or another serious crime
  • A parent’s physical or mental health condition
  • A sex offender in the home

To obtain an emergency child custody order, you must request an emergency hearing and provide the court with evidence of the emergency. In other words, you must prove that your child could be immediately harmed without an emergency order.

Domestic Violence

Sadly, many divorce cases start with domestic violence allegations. If your spouse is abusive, your children are in danger – even if you truly believe your spouse would never harm them.

In addition to an emergency custody order, you may need a restraining order or order of protection.

Do not hesitate to remove yourself and your children from an abusive household or dangerous situation but make a plan to leave safely.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline has a helpful guide to safety planning. Your friends, family members, and a family law attorney can help, as well.

Child Abuse or Neglect

If you share custody, and you are concerned about what happens to your child when they are with your co-parent, speak to an attorney immediately. If you believe your child is in danger or have evidence that your child is being abused or neglected, request an emergency hearing as soon as possible.

The court will help you remove your child from the unsafe situation and grant you full custody until the dangerous conditions are resolved.

Criminal Activity

As a parent, you should never leave your child with someone whose judgement is impaired. DUIs or drug-related arrests may indicate that your spouse is unfit to care for a child. What if they were to drive under the influence with your child in the car?

After an arrest, you should consider modifying your child custody arrangement. Requesting an emergency custody order may be in your child’s best interests.

Health Problems

When someone cannot care for themselves, they cannot care for a child, either. If your spouse is suffering from a physical or mental health condition that could put your child in danger, requesting an emergency custody order can help you keep your family safe.

Emergency custody orders are temporary measures that prioritize your child’s safety while you and your co-parent work toward more permanent solutions.

Sex Offenders

One of the most difficult aspects of co-parenting is that you do not have full control over who your child interacts with. In general, your co-parent can use their discretion in deciding who gets to be around your child, whether that person is a grandparent or a new partner.

Nevertheless, if your co-parent allows a sex offender or another dangerous individual to move into their home, that home is no longer a safe space for your child.

If you are concerned about someone that your co-parent lives with, and you can prove that that person presents a danger to your child, the court may grant an emergency custody order.

How Quickly Can I Get Help?

The quickest way to get help is always calling 911. If you or your child is in immediate danger, do not hesitate to contact emergency services. Always seek medical attention and file police reports in cases of domestic violence or child abuse. These steps can be crucial to documenting your case and getting the legal relief you need.

Once you request an emergency custody hearing, you should hear back from the court within 10 days. In most cases, the court will hear from both parties before issuing a temporary order. An emergency order can remain in effect for up to 20 days.

Due to the nature of emergency custody orders, courts often work quickly. One may receive notice the day before an emergency hearing, so both parties need to be prepared.

If you need help with an emergency custody order, look no further than the Burch Shepard Family Law Group. We have more than 100 years of collective experience in cases like yours and specialized knowledge in family law. Many of our attorneys are Board Certified Specialists via the State Bar of California, and our entire team is committed to your success.

Tell us about your situation during a consultation and learn how we can help you – call us at (949) 565-4158 or contact us online to get started today.