Written by attorney Charles R. Hofheimer

Getting Emergency Child Custody

Emergency child custody may be necessary in some extreme situations. If you're seeking this type of Virginia child custody, you should be aware of the specific rules that apply.

In a perfect world, no child would ever be harmed or witness violence of any sort, especially not between their parents or other loved ones. In reality, domestic violence and child abuse happen everyday around the world, so there are special laws in place to secure the safety of children and place them in stable, loving homes.

Emergency child custody allows a family member to intervene in a situation where the child is in danger and in need of a temporary new home. In some cases, it can be an alternative to the child being placed in state foster care.

A parent whose ex-spouse is endangering their child can file for this type of custody. Grandparents and other family members with significant connections to the child may be eligible to petition as well.

Requirements For Requesting Emergency Child Custody

In order to petition for emergency Virginia child custody, the child must be present in the state at the time of petition, but does not need to be a resident of the state.

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) dictates that states must defer to the decision of the child's home state's family court. However, in an emergency situation, another state may be able to temporarily change an order.

The second requirement for filing for emergency Virginia child custody is that the child needs to be a victim of (or in danger of):

· physical or sexual abuse;

· abandonment; or

· neglect.

In some cases the court may grant emergency custody if it's found that the custodial parent is a substance abuser or convicted child molester, even if no abuse or neglect has been reported. The conditions that determine whether emergency custody orders can filed can vary; a family court judge will make decisions on a case-by-case basis.

Process of Filing For Emergency Child Custody

To apply for custody in an emergency, you need to fill out the appropriate paperwork. The courts try and expedite these orders because it is in the best interest of the child to be transferred to a safe home as soon as possible. However, the correct documentation needs to be presented.

False accusations can sometimes be made in an effort to obtain Virginia child custody. In order to prevent the filing of emergency orders with malicious intent and with baseless accusations, you will need to show evidence that the child has been harmed or is in danger of harm. This can be accomplished by acquiring medical records, police reports, records of abuse convictions for the other parent, and other relevant proof.

Emergency custody orders can be a great relief to a parent who is taking a child out of a dangerous and damaging situation but it's important to remember that these orders are temporary. If you're seeking more permanent custody of the child, you will have to pursue it by going through the proper legal procedure in the child's home state.

Contacting a Virginia Child Custody Attorney

At Hofheimer/Ferrebee, we understand that the health and happiness of your children is your #1 concern. We will work with you to address any fears and anxieties you may have about your children’s future. Our women’s-only divorce attorneys will guide you every step of the way to ensure that you achieve the best possible child custody and child support arrangements for you and your children.

To learn more about your Virginia divorce, request a FREE copy of our guide, What Every Virginia Woman Should Know About Divorce, or reserve your seat at our monthly divorce seminar – 757-425-5200.

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