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Can I protect my child from returning to her abusive mother through an ex parte restraining order?

Silverdale, WA |

My child resides primarily with her mother. My child is currently visiting me. The mother has one founded case of neglect and one founded case of abuse. My time with the child will be ending soon and I need to to prevent my child from returning to the mother so that I can get further legal counsel to file a motion to modify custody which would place the child in my home. DSHS has also urged me to seek custody in light of the mother's refusal to accept voluntary services. I need to know which legal procedure will immediately prevent the child returning to the mother pending a later filing to seek custody. I also need to know which things would help support the initial motion (declarations, etc) and what language would draw attention to the issues best.

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Attorney answers 4


"Can I protect my child from returning to her abusive mother through an ex parte restraining order?" Sure, if you convince the judge that the mother presents an immediate threat to the safety of the child, the judge likely will sign an order prohibiting the mother from having contacts with the child until the court can have a full hearing within two weeks.

The thing for you is that no one can teach you in a few paragraphs all the things you will need to learn and do to present your case.

You likely should hire an attorney.

If hiring an attorney is not an option, you can review the free information provided by WA LawHelp. The site is at .

If you review enough of the articles, you likely can pick up all the forms needed.


If you already have a parenting plan, you should consult with an attorney about filing a petition to modify. These are complicated cases. It’s always best to consult with a good family law attorney to discuss the details before you act. See my AVVO Legal Guides on child custody, CPS, and modifications for more information about the legal issues raised by your inquiry. Please keep in mind that although these Legal Guides are often informative, they are no substitute for legal advice from an attorney you have retained for consultation or representation. Click on my photo. On my AVVO home page click on "Contributor Level - View Contributions" or scroll down further and click on "Contribution - Legal Guides." Scroll down the list of my 29 Legal Guides and select the topics relevant to your question. If you like my answer and Legal Guides, please make sure you mark them as “helpful” or “best answer”.

This AVVO Answer is provided for general educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you agree and understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the attorney responding, and no attorney-client confidentiality. The law changes frequently, and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information provided in this Answer is general in nature and may not apply to the factual circumstances described in your question. The applicable law and the appropriate answer may be different in the State or States where the relevant facts occurred. For a definitive answer you should seek legal advice from an attorney who (1) is licensed to practice in the state which has jurisdiction; (2) has experience in the area of law you are asking about, and (3) has been retained as your attorney for representation or consultation. Your question and the attorney’s answer may be used for promotional or educational purposes


Talk with your attorney that helped you get the parenting plan. If you didn't have an attorney help then it would be a great idea to talk with a family law attorney about these issues and questions you have.


Filing for a protection order on behalf of the child can be done through an ex parte motion. However, you will need support for any of your accusations. Upon the filing of a protection order, the sheriff department will usually serve the other party and a temporary protection will be put into place for a 14 day period. At that time, the matter will be heard by the court to determine if a one year protection order is proper.

In order to accomplish what you are setting out to do, contact an attorney to help you draft and organize the facts of your protection order. It is important to protect the interest of your child and present a clear and organized petition to the court.

Start contacting attorneys today and gathering the support in which you rely on.

Legal disclaimer: The answer provided is for educational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult an attorney for legal advice regarding the facts of your specific case and designed to help you with your personal needs.

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