Emergency Custody

In Family by GWAO

A judge may order an ex parte order for temporary emergency custody of a minor child when deemed necessary.  If the court has jurisdiction over the minor child, a party may meet with the Judge “ex parte” – without a scheduled court date, and often without the opposing party present.  Ex parte orders can be entered before the opposing party is served with notice.  However, if both parties have attorneys, the attorney seeking the ex parte motion should inform opposing counsel of their intent.  The attorney filing the motion should allow opposing counsel the opportunity to be present during their conversation with the Judge.  However, if the opposing attorney waives his/her own appearance or chooses not to be present, a Judge may hear the motion without him/her.

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The Judge may consider entering this type of temporary custody order if the child is exposed to a substantial risk of bodily injury or sexual abuse; or if there is a substantial risk that the child may be abducted or removed from the State of North Carolina in order to evade the jurisdiction of the state’s courts.  This temporary order is not likely to be granted if the party is seeking to change the regular living arrangements of the child or change regular custody.

If the party seeking the ex parte motion for temporary emergency custody is successful, they will be assigned a hearing date within ten (10) days of the entry of the ex parte order.  The Plaintiff should be granted assistance from law enforcement in the appropriate county to retrieve the minor child safely and without incident.  When the Judge signs the temporary order, the Plaintiff should move quickly to retrieve the minor child.

At the hearing within the ten (10) days , both parties shall appear before the Judge to decide whether the temporary order should be extended or set aside.  The Judge may choose to extend the terms of the temporary order, for a certain length or indefinitely.

 The expiration of the temporary order depends on the requests/needs of the parties and the discretion of the Judge.  If no expiration date is set, the temporary custody settings shall preside until a further custody action is filed.  If one party does not show up at the hearing, or appears only to request time to hire an attorney, the Judge may continue the case.  Alternatively, if only one side appears, the Judge may make his or her decision without the other party present.

For more information on emergency custody, consult North Carolina General Statute § 50-13.5.  Procedure in actions for custody or support of minor children.

If you want to initiate an emergency custody action to protect your child, or if you have been served with notice of an emergency custody order, contact a trustworthy family lawyer for assistance.  Our Top Rated Family Law Team can walk you through the process and represent you at the each stage in court.  Call us for advice today:  336-379-0539!