empty courtroomThis is the final post in a series of articles addressing specific circumstances in which a Melbourne parent may seek an emergency change to a Florida child custody order. Our previous post discussed situations in which serious neglect of a child may justify such a modification. When a parent cannot or will not provide the care required to keep a child safe, a judge may determine that the circumstances require an alteration in custody arrangements for the child’s protection. Requests for emergency court intervention in connection with neglect, as well as with the other situations discussed in this series, will be carefully scrutinized. How the court will rule in any given case will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of each matter. If you need assistance seeking an emergency modification to a custody order, contact our office as soon as possible to speak with an attorney.

This series focused on the following topics:

We felt it was important to write about these issues for several reasons. Generally speaking, when a parent’s actions or inactions place a child at risk of imminent harm, Florida courts may find that the circumstances justify an emergency change to an existing custody order. It is important to consider how this general guidance applies to specific situations. First, a parent’s use or possession of “hard” drugs in the presence of the child or ongoing impairment from prescription or other drugs that endangers a child may be considered an emergency by the court. Second, when alcohol abuse creates a dangerous situation for a child, a judge may order an emergency custody modification. Third, the court will act quickly to change custody when there is evidence that the child has been physically, emotionally, or sexually abused by the parent or while in their care. Next, exposing a child to inherently dangerous criminal activity, such as armed robbery or drug dealing, for instance, will likely be seen as an emergency leading to a custody change. Finally, if there is reason to believe that a child is being seriously neglected by a parent placing them at risk of harm, a request to modify a current custody order may be granted.

Requesting a custody change in connection with accusations of parental wrongdoing can be emotional and contentious. It is imperative to discuss your situation with an experienced family law attorney to understand your legal options. Contact our office today to speak with a Melbourne, Florida child custody lawyer. We also serve the cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.