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What Happens During an Emergency Child Custody Hearing in Orlando, Florida?
Child custody is often decided as part of a divorce action. Therefore, the hearings are generally scheduled weeks or months in advance. If the parents argue about custody terms, the judge may grant a temporary order until the matter is ready for a final hearing.
However, some situations require an emergency child custody hearing. The court only schedules emergency child custody hearings for specific situations. The best way to know if your situation justifies an emergency hearing is to call an Orlando child custody lawyer for advice.
What Circumstances Justify an Emergency Child Custody Hearing?
Florida custody laws allow courts to schedule emergency custody hearings to decide temporary child custody in specific situations. Emergency hearings are only scheduled when:
There is a credible threat of child abduction; or:
There is an immediate and real threat of physical harm to the child.
The parent petitioning the court for emergency child custody has the burden of proving the child is in imminent danger of being harmed or taken. If the court finds that the matter does not require an emergency hearing, the parent can file a regular motion asking for a hearing date.
Judges treat emergency motions very seriously. Ordering temporary relief without notifying the other party and/or without the opportunity to conduct a full hearing is only done when the judge is convinced the temporary relief is required to protect a child. Otherwise, the judge will most likely deny the motion for an emergency hearing.
How Do You Schedule an Emergency Custody Hearing in Orlando?
Your lawyer files a petition for an emergency hearing. There are a few ways that the court might treat the emergency motion for child custody depending on the relief sought and the evidence presented in the motion. The court grants two types of emergency hearings.
A motion for an emergency ex-parte hearing is filed with the court and sent directly to the judge. The other party is not given notice of the motion being filed. If the judge finds sufficient evidence of the possibility of immediate harm to the child, the judge may schedule an ex-parte hearing.
Ex-parte hearings are rare because the other party is not notified of the motion or the hearing. Therefore, these types of emergency hearings are reserved for extreme cases where there is strong evidence the child has been harmed or is in danger, and that takes priority over allowing the other side to be heard in court.
A regular emergency motion for child custody sets a hearing date, usually within the next week. The other side is notified of the motion and the hearing date so they can respond to the motion and appear at the hearing.
What Happens at an Emergency Child Custody Hearing?
At an emergency ex parte hearing, the judge considers the information presented in the motion. The judge may also consider testimony from the petitioner and other evidence, such as affidavits, medical records, and photographs.
The judge has the authority to grant immediate relief in the form of temporary custody. First, however, the judge must conclude there is sufficient evidence to support the allegations of child abuse or imminent threat of danger to the child.
Reasons for emergency custody include, but are not limited to:
Reason to believe the parent may remove the child from the state
Sometimes, a judge may issue an immediate temporary order based on the emergency motion. Hiring an experienced custody attorney in Orlando is essential. An experienced lawyer understands how to present the appropriate evidence in the motion to justify a temporary emergency order.
In an emergency hearing involving both parties, the judge hears testimony from both parties and considers the evidence presented by each party. Then, the judge may grant temporary custody to either parent.
Judges may also grant restraining orders, supervised visitation, or no visitation at emergency hearings.
What Happens After the Hearing?
The relief granted at an emergency hearing is only temporary. The court sets the matter for a hearing date. The parties have time to gather evidence and build their case to support their claim for child custody.
After the final hearing, the judge issues a child custody order. The order remains in effect until the court changes it or the child is emancipated.
If your child is in immediate danger of being harmed, call the police. Then, contact an Orlando child custody lawyer who can help you obtain an emergency child custody order.