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When is emergency child custody necessary?

Often, determining child custody can be a time-consuming and stressful process. However, there are some cases when parents, or even grandparents, cannot wait that long to obtain custody--especially if their child is at risk.

If a child is in danger when they are with one or both parents, the other parent or the child's grandparents can temporarily forgo the normal custody proceedings and file for emergency custody.

When can you pursue emergency child custody?

In Virginia, individuals can seek emergency custody of a child if they can prove that the child's health and welfare are in danger. This involves proving the existence of a specific risk, including, but not limited to:

  • Child abuse or neglect: Of course, evidence that the child suffers physical or psychological abuse from one parent is reason enough for the other parent to seek emergency custody.
  • Parental substance abuse: If one or both parents have a severe substance abuse problem involving drugs or alcohol, their children are at risk. Addiction is a serious issue, and substance abuse can place children at risk of neglect and exposure to these substances.
  • Parental incapacity: If one parent is diagnosed with a severe mental illness or suffers a serious injury in an accident, they might not be fit to meet the child's needs for the time being.
  • Parental kidnapping: If a parent fears they will lose time with their children in the custody arrangement, they might refuse to let the other parent see their child. They might even make threats to take the child away. If individuals have a reason to fear parental kidnapping, they might have a case to file emergency custody.

Families and Virginia family courts alike usually place a child's best interests and needs first and foremost. Therefore, it is likely that courts will grant emergency custody in these dangerous situations.

However, evidence is crucial

These situations are usually time-sensitive. However, individuals seeking emergency custody must still take the time to ensure that they:

  1. Provide clear evidence that there is a threat to the child's safety or health
  2. Complete the proper paperwork to file the case 

If they do not, their ability to obtain emergency custody could be at risk.

Filing for emergency custody can be a concerning and overwhelming situation. But the experienced child custody attorneys at Bowen Ten Cardani, PC, can help individuals get through this and ensure their children are safe.

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Bowen Ten Cardani, PC

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Richmond, VA 23233

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Phone: 804-767-6850
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