This is my fourth post in a series discussing emergency child custody cases in Melbourne, Florida. The previous article discussed why it is important to speak with an attorney before contacting DCF. This post I will outline how parents can obtain a temporary emergency custody order. It is important to understand, before requesting such an order, that a Court will only consider a matter an emergency if the child is in imminent danger. If a Judge agrees that the child’s safety is in immediate jeopardy, they will likely schedule an expedited hearing. If you or a loved one needs assistance, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer who can help.
The first step in obtaining an emergency custody modification in Melbourne is to file a motion
A motion is a formal request for the judge to make a legal ruling. It is submitted to the court with the laws to support your argument with evidence. You may submit an emergency motion for temporary custody if you believe your child is in immediate danger. In this motion, you will detail the emergency. Maybe Mom was arrested for drugs, and Dad is requesting for emergency custody because he’s scared to leave the child with her. Whatever the reason, you must describe it in complete detail and explain why it is an emergency. You may also attach evidence to the motion in the form of exhibits. Then, you will file this motion with the court. Once in the hands of the Judge, they will determine whether or not the situation is actually an emergency, then set a hearing date. In emergency situations, your case may be heard within a few days.
Florida Family Court Judges have many ways in which they can proceed in an emergency child custody case.
It is important to know that the initial hearing will not be a trial. The attorneys for both sides will each present their case, but there will not be witnesses and it is likely the hearing will be rather short. At the end of the hearing, the Judge will issue a decision. There are three things that can happen. A Judge may agree that it is an emergency and grant the change. They may decide the issue is not an emergency and deny the motion outright, which means custody does not change. Or, they may not believe that the situation is an emergency, but agree there are grounds for a change in custody and set a trial date.
Situations that lead to a request for emergency change in custody can be scary and traumatizing. I cannot stress enough how important it is to retain an experienced lawyer to assist you in an emergency situation. If you believe that an emergency custody modification is necessary, contact my office to speak with a Melbourne family law attorney today. 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.