A parent or guardian who is given full physical child custody of a child after a divorce is assumed to be the best candidate for raising and protecting that child. But sometimes the court makes a lapse in judgment, or people change over time, and the child’s health and well-being are jeopardized. In Virginia, if a child is at risk of being harmed by their parent, caretaker, or custodian, any person with a personal connection to that child can use an emergency child custody petition to move that child temporarily to a safe location.
A child’s best interests and health are always paramount, no matter the legalities involved in a particular situation. If a child is being hurt, Virginia law encourages people to take action and protect them. To this end, emergency child custody petitions were created to eliminate unsafe situations and house the child until a different custody arrangement is finalized.
People who can file for an emergency child custody order include:
Actions or behaviors that may validate the petition are:
When an emergency child custody petition is created, the subsequent hearing is often held a day or two later, as the child’s health may be in jeopardy. A judge overseeing the hearing will review evidence presented to determine if danger actually does exist and if custody must be taken away from the current parent or guardian, and if it should temporarily be transferred to the petitioner. It is useful to bring physical evidence to make an argument during an emergency custody hearing, such as police reports, child’s medical history, guardian’s criminal record, etc.
Note: If you believe that a child is in immediate danger of physical harm, you should first call the authorities to intervene before filing an emergency custody petition.
Do you need help with an emergency child custody petition? Want representation at an upcoming hearing? Malinowski Hubbard, PLLC and our Fairfax family law attorneys can provide trusted representation and compassionate legal counsel during this time of need.
Contact us online at your first opportunity to learn more about our services.
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