Emergency Custody Orders in Tennessee
Family Lawyers in Murfreesboro Helping Parents Protect Their Rights
Typically, if you want to modify child custody, you need to file a petition with the court, wait until your court date, and then show the judge that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that warrants such a change. In many cases, modifying an existing custody order can take weeks or even months. But what if you think that your current custody situation is putting your child in immediate danger?
Fortunately, under Tennessee law, individuals can intervene and secure custody of a child in some cases by filing an emergency custody petition. These petitions are typically filed ex parte, meaning the person or people who currently have custody of the child are not present. As a result, judges only grant emergency custody petitions in very limited circumstances and on a temporary basis. If you believe that you need to seek emergency custody of a child, you should contact a lawyer as soon as you can.
What Qualifies as an Emergency for the Purposes of Child Custody?
As a parent, it’s important to understand that emergency custody orders are not appropriate to resolve “normal” disputes that you may have with your child’s other parent. For example, your child’s other parent refusing to take your child to soccer practice is not an emergency. In order for a court to issue an ex parte emergency child custody order, the party seeking the order must allege facts that, if true, indicate that there is a substantial risk of harm to the child. Examples of circumstances that may justify an emergency custody order include:
- Domestic violence
- Active substance abuse
- A legitimate threat to the well-being of the child
- Evidence of physical abuse to the child
- A dangerous home environment
- A threat to remove the child to another jurisdiction
These are just some of the situations that may justify an emergency custody order. The best way to determine whether your situation qualifies is to contact an attorney right away.
Do You Need an Attorney to Obtain an Emergency Custody Order?
If you believe you need an emergency custody order, it’s highly advisable that you retain a lawyer. Obtaining this type of order is a legally complicated matter, and, in many cases, it may be necessary to find an on-call judge after-hours in order to obtain one. Finally, if your request for an order is granted, your child’s other parent will be entitled to a full hearing within a relatively short amount of time, and you’ll certainly want representation at that proceeding.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Consultation with a Murfreesboro Family Law Attorney
If you believe that your child is in danger and believe an emergency custody order is warranted, you should speak to an attorney as soon as you can. At Dotson & Taylor, we are committed to helping parents protect their rights and kids. To schedule a case evaluation with a family lawyer in Tennessee, call our office today at 615-890-1982 or contact us online.