Florida courts retain the right to alter custody or time-sharing agreements when it's in the child's best interest or deemed necessary for their well-being. This kind of ruling is what's known as post-judgment modification. Unfortunately, the usual legal process can be slow, and courts can take months to resolve child custody cases. However, when unforeseen circumstances, tragic events, or abuse occur, an emergency motion can be filed seeking immediate custody modifications or relocation. Also known as ex-parte motions, an emergency motion for custody, temporary emergency relief, or an emergency motion to suspend contact, this kind of motion can be instrumental in protecting children from perceived danger.
If you're planning to file an emergency motion for child relocation or child custody, you should contact our Gainesville law firm as soon as possible. Our attorneys in Gainesville can provide legal guidance throughout the motion filing process to help the process go smoothly. Contact a family law attorney with Silverman and Mack, LLC today to learn more or schedule a consultation!
Florida Laws On Emergency Motions For Custody
As stated in Florida Statute § 61.534, for the court to issue an order granting a parent or petitioner the ability to secure emergency custody of a child, the court must first determine that the child is likely to suffer physical harm or be removed from the state. Under this statute, "if the court, upon the testimony of the petitioner or other witness, finds that the child is likely to imminently suffer serious physical harm or removal from this state, it may issue a warrant to take physical custody of the child. The petition must be heard on the next judicial day after the warrant is executed unless that date is impossible. In that event, the court shall hold the hearing on the first judicial day possible."
Reasons For Emergency Custody
It's not uncommon for a parent's idea of imminent danger to differ from a judge's. As a result, courts tend to reserve issuing an order for emergency relief until there is a real and immediate threat to a child's physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. A few examples of situations that may warrant emergency child custody include the following.
- Serious Substance Abuse By The Custodial Parent
- Threats Being Made To The Child
- Recent Child Abuse
- Severe Child Neglect
- Reason To Believe The Child Will Be Moved Out Of State
- Allegations Of Sexual Harm
The Emergency Custody Process
Upon learning of a situation in which a child is in real and immediate danger, a parent will file an emergency motion for temporary custody or relocation and provide a copy of that motion to the office of a family court. Next, the judge will review the motion and make an immediate determination on that same day as to whether the allegations of the motion warrant emergency relief. Should the judge deem the situation worthy of emergency relief, they will issue a temporary child custody order, and law enforcement will take the child. Should the judge decide the situation presents no real and immediate danger to the child's well-being, a hearing will be set wherein both parents can present their case.
How Our Gainesville Lawyers Can Help
Our lawyers in Gainesville care deeply about the well-being of children and understand that time is of the essence in emergencies. If you believe your child is facing imminent danger, you need to contact an experienced family lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney with Silverman and Mack, LLC can help parents swiftly file an emergency motion for temporary custody and present a compelling case for emergency relief. Don't wait. There are strict deadlines and legal constraints surrounding emergency motions. Contact one of our lawyers in Gainesville, FL, today to schedule a consultation.