My step children have indicated that they are being emotionally, mentally, and verbally abused by their mother. They are 15 & 16. My husband has some custody, but not full 50/50. They have asked to live with us full time, but after attending mediation (prior to the abuse knowledge), the mother did not agree to a week on, week off change in the agreement.
Now that the children have told us exactly what goes on, are we able to file emergency custody, and then file for sole or more custody? One of the children had a massive panic attack about returning to her mother's house and we feel helpless for the immediate situation.
While emotional abuse is obviously very real, it’s often difficult or even impossible to prove in court. Based only on what you provided, we can’t speculate as to whether it’s severe enough to warrant any emergency action or modified pleadings. The children probably can be interviewed by a parenting conference or court appointed advisor but without very compelling evidence, it’s unlikely a court will radically restrict the other parent’s parenting time based solely on allegations of verbal abuse.
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Emergency orders are really only granted when the court deems the children to be non imminent harm and unfortunately, verbal abuse most likely do not qualify. Of course there are exceptions but without knowing great detail, the aforementioned generally applies. However, the benefit of filing for emergency orders is that even if they are denied, you get a hearing set typically within 10 days. It most likely will not be an evidentiary hearing depending on the judge but at least it is an opportunity to get the ball rolling more quickly.
Since the kids are older and can clearly express what they want without the danger, generally, of the court feeling their statements are manipulated by the parents, you may want to ask that the kids be interviewed by a court appointed advisor or in a parenting conference.
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