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Emergency Custody Petitions

Ordinarily, if you want to file for an initial Order for custody or if you want to modify an existing custody order, one would need to file a Custody Complaint or a Petition for Modification of Custody. The Court must then schedule a custody conciliation within forty-five (45) days of the filing date. If the circumstances of your case are such that the child would be in danger if the current custody arrangement were to remain unchanged for forty-five days, you have the option of asking the court to consider your Petition on an emergency basis. The Petition will then by-pass the conciliation process and go right to the Judge. The Judge will first make a determination as to whether the circumstances of your case require emergent action. If so, the Judge can issue an Order or have a hearing within hours or days of the filing. If the Court does not believe that the circumstances of your case require immediate action, your case will proceed normally through the conciliation process.

In order to have your case deemed emergent and in need of immediate action by the court, it normally must be shown that the child will suffer serious physical or emotional harm in the current environment. Examples of circumstances requiring immediate action are:

  • Abuse (physical, sexual or verbal) of the child or by a parent of the child or household member;
  • Mental health concerns of one of the parents or the child;
  • Urgent medical treatment needs of the child or parent/caretaker;
  • Criminal charges of one of the parents or household members; or
  • Substance abuse by one of the parents or household members

An Order entered by the Court granting the Emergency Petition does not always end the

case. The Court may only grant some, but not all of the relief requested if the Court determines that only some relief is required to address the emergent situation. Thereafter, the Court may still schedule the parties for a conciliation to enable the parties to reach a more comprehensive resolution of the custody matters. The Court can also grant the emergency petition on a temporary basis and then schedule a full hearing to flesh out all of the issues and concerns.

The attorneys at Tanner Law Offices, LLC have filed many Emergency Petitions on behalf of their clients. They can guide you as to whether or not the circumstances of your case should be filed as an Emergency Petition. If an Emergency Petition is appropriate, they can assist you in getting the Petition filed to ensure the safety and well-being of your child. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact our office at 717-836-0471