When you become a parent, your child becomes the most important person in your life. Suddenly you are responsible for another life, a unique individual who relies on you for their well-being and their very survival. Instead of making decisions on behalf of yourself and your own best interests, you put the best interest of your son or daughter first in everything you do.
Putting the best interests of your child first also extends to things like divorce proceedings and custody battles. Even if you and your spouse or partner are no longer together, you are still both parents, and protecting the children is still your number one responsibility. But what do you do when the person entrusted with the welfare of your child is not up to the task?
Getting the Protection You Need
If you suspect your child is in danger, an emergency child custody order can provide the protection you need to set things right and ensure the wellbeing of your son or daughter. Arizona law provides a number of provisions to protect both custodial and noncustodial parents in these emergency situations, and you should not be afraid to pursue this course of action if you feel that the welfare of your child has been put in danger.
What To Know Before Filing an Emergency Custody Order
With the welfare of your precious children at stake, the right preparation is critical when pursuing an emergency custody order. You cannot afford to leave things to chance or hope that you have the evidence needed to convince the judge you have a valid case. Even when time is of the essence, the right preparatory steps can mean the difference between success and failure.
Keep in mind that family courts see a lot of emergency custody orders, and parents sometimes use these proceedings to punish their partners or interfere with their normal parenting duties. This is especially true when the two parties disagree on things like proper punishment and general child rearing techniques.
A High Bar
As a result, some family courts are reluctant to grant emergency custody orders, and it can take a lot of evidence to convince a judge that such a serious step is really in the best interest of all involved. The first thing the judge will look at is whether the situation constitutes a true emergency, or simply a disagreement on parenting techniques.
Putting the best interest of your child first means taking a step back and looking at the situation from an emotionally detached position. That is easier said than done, but it is important, nonetheless. Ask yourself what is really going on. Are you angry at your spouse for dating someone new? Have you recently gotten into a fight? Are you simply upset or is the welfare of your child truly at risk.
If you are merely angry at your ex-spouse or partner, you may want to rethink your plans to pursue an emergency custody order. These orders should be reserved for true emergency situations, ones that put the well-being of the minor child at risk.
If you truly feel that your child will suffer irreparable harm by remaining in their current situation, then an emergency custody order filing is definitely in order. There are a number of situations that could trigger this kind of concern, from a parent who is using drugs or abusing alcohol to an ex-partner who is dating someone with a criminal record.
No matter what the situation, it is important to gather as much evidence as you can. When evaluating the emergency custody request, the family court judge will need more than your word to go on, and if there is not sufficient evidence, the order will probably be denied.
Presenting the Evidence
When compiling evidence for the emergency custody request, think carefully about what the person in question has done. Did they drive your child around after they had been drinking or using drugs? Have they physically abused the child? Has there been emotional damage due to abuse or neglect? The more detailed information you can provide to back up your claims, the more likely it is the judge will grant your request for emergency custody.
If you have an eyewitness to the bad behavior of your ex-spouse or partner, that eyewitness testimony can go a long way. Bringing that individual to court could tip the odds in your favor, especially if the testimony is compelling and the witness convincing.
Your case will be helped even more if there is actual legal evidence of a crime that would put the wellbeing of your child in danger. It is one thing to accuse your ex-spouse or partner of using drugs around your child, but it is quite another to present evidence of a drug-related arrest. An accusation of child abuse is one thing, but an arrest for a physical beating, or pictures of the resulting marks, will carry far more weight with the family court judge.
Do Not Wait
Filing for the emergency custody of your child is not something to be taken lightly, and it is important that you have evidence to back up your accusations. You should never use a request for emergency custody to get back at your spouse or start the proceedings out of anger alone. This kind of action could hurt your case in the long run and interfere with the parent/child relationship.
If, on the other hand, the well-being of your child is truly at risk, you should not hesitate to file for emergency custody. The physical and emotional safety of your child cannot wait, and timely action could prevent long-lasting physical and emotional damage to the most important person in your life.
Do You Need Help with Emergency Child Custody Arrangements?
It can be be difficult to navigate child custody laws without the right help. At JacksonWhite Family Law, we not only provide that help, but also a compassionate understanding for your situation. We work diligently to explore legal solutions that have your – and your family’s – best interests in mind.
If you are dealing with child custody issues, please schedule a consultation today. During your consultation, the JacksonWhite Family Law Attorneys will be available to answer your questions and discuss the specifics of your case.
Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.