How To Get An Emergency Custody Order

An emergency custody order is a court-ordered protection of your children from dangerous circumstances. This article gives a simplified guide on how to get it.

If you are in an emergency and need an emergency custody order on your child’s behalf, then there are many steps you will need to take. These steps may vary from state to state, but you should follow them as closely as possible to ensure that your case is handled in the best way possible. 

A custody order cannot be filed as an emergency custody order.

Emergency Custody Order

An emergency custody order is a court-ordered action requiring the immediate removal of your child from all places where you have a right to be with them. This order can include schools, daycare centres and other places where children are routinely present. The purpose of an emergency custody order is to protect your child’s best interests in light of an imminent risk that another person or entity will harm them (e.g., a family member).

A regular custody petition requires more evidence than just a claim of imminent danger. However, it does not grant full legal custody rights unless otherwise specified in the document (e.g., if one party claims sole parental authority over all aspects).

Instead, it must be filed as a regular custody petition under the state’s guidelines.

Most states have guidelines for filing a regular custody petition, typically much more detailed than the state’s emergency custody order guidelines. It’s common for a judge to refuse an emergency custody order even if it meets all of the statutory requirements. So if you want your ex-spouse to be removed from your home, you’ll need a regular custody petition, which means filing following state law.

A temporary restraining order

Emergency Custody Restraining Order

In some cases, you may also need to file for a temporary restraining order against the other parent, depending on why you are seeking emergency orders.

There are two types of temporary restraining orders: preliminary and permanent. Preliminary orders last up to 10 days. Permanents can last up to two years and are issued by judges after full hearings. 

The paperwork must be filled out properly and completely and submitted in the correct format.

  • You must submit the forms in the correct format (e.g., for a regular order of protection, submit a Declaration of Emergency Custody and Support, not just an Application for Order of Protection).
  • Your paperwork should contain all required attachments, including Acknowledgment that you have received notice from the other party/parties and an affidavit or statement as to why you need emergency custody now rather than after 30 days have passed since filing your petition (if applicable).
  • The court will require you to submit a copy of any medical report, police report, or other evidence that pertains directly to your allegations. It is important that this information be in writing and signed by a medical professional who has treated or examined the child involved in this matter.

The judge will only accept a complete document. You may be able to file an emergency motion for custody and support with the court, but you should consult with an attorney before doing so.

Legitimate Emergency

In most states, the laws about emergency custody orders require a legitimate emergency. The situation cannot wait until the judge can hold a regular court hearing later. Therefore, the judge must be convinced that there is a real emergency and that it cannot wait until the judge can hold a regular court hearing later.

In addition to this requirement, if you request an emergency order for yourself or your child, you must also show proof of financial difficulties and evidence of physical abuse or neglect on both sides before filing for one. Otherwise, they may deny your request.

It is important to note that emergency custody orders are not the same as temporary custody orders. The latter are often more limited in scope, while an emergency order can be granted immediately and may last anywhere from one day to several months.

If the judge believes an emergency exists, they may issue an emergency custody order. This order means that you will get access to your child immediately and be able to take care of them until the judge can hold a full hearing later.

However, suppose the judge does not think it is an emergency and therefore does not issue an emergency custody order. In that case, your lawyer may ask for one at the next court date (or sooner).

Effort To Notify 

The filing party also needs proof that they have made every effort to notify the other parent of the court hearing date and time.

There are many ways to show this, including:

  • Emailing or calling them.
  • Texting them (if there’s an address for you).
  • Posting on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter (if it’s clear who you’re seeking a custody order from).

The filing party should also provide documentation of any attempts they’ve made to contact their ex-spouses, such as bills showing phone calls and emails sent. 

An emergency custody order can protect your children. 

An emergency custody order is a court-ordered protection of your children from dangerous circumstances. The judge will grant the order if he believes there is an immediate danger to your child, and it cannot wait until the next regular court hearing.


If you want to file for an emergency custody order, you may need help understanding how to proceed. First, however, the best thing to do is contact a family law attorney in your state who can help guide you through this process and advise what steps need to be taken next.

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