If your child is living with your former spouse and you suspect that the child is facing an imminent threat to their welfare, you don't have to wait until a conventional child custody hearing is concluded to protect the child. Instead, you can file for temporary child custody to get the child out of harm's way until the issue is permanently resolved. Here are some of the circumstances that may call for an emergency child custody determination:
The Parent Is Abusive
Child abuse, in all its various forms, is one of the most authentic reasons for seeking emergency child custody. A child who has been neglected, abandoned, physically abused or sexually abused can suffer both permanent and temporary physical and emotional injuries. Therefore, if you suspect that the other parent is touching the child inappropriately, take your concerns to the court and get a temporary custody order until the issue can be dealt with in a more permanent case.
The Parent Is Abusing Drugs
Using illegal drugs is not, by itself, an automatic way of getting emergency child custody. However, there are circumstances under which drug abuse becomes an immediate threat to a child's well being. One example is if the parent is abusing drugs in the presence of the child, which may introduce the child to the drugs. Another example is if the other parent is violent or abusive to the child after taking the drugs. In either case, you need to seek emergency custody of the child to protect them from the actions of the other parent.
The Parent Is Facing a Conviction for a Violent Crime
In some jurisdictions, you may also be able to get emergency custody of a child if the current custodial child is facing a criminal conviction. This is especially true if the parent is being tried for a violent or serious crime, such as murder or robbery with violence.
The Parent Wants To Take the Child Away
Emergency child custody is not always for the protection of the child; it can also be used to protect the parent-child relationship. Consider a case where the other parent has physical custody of the child, but you have visitation rights that allow you to visit with the child regularly. If you get information that the other parent wants to move away with the child, say overseas or to any other distant place, you can use emergency child protection to prevent that from happening.
In these cases, the first thing should be to protect the child (for example, by contacting child services). After that, you can contact a family law attorney to help you get control of the child in a more permanent way.