Emergency Child Custody Issues in California

Emergency Child Custody Issues in California

Petitions for changes in child custody agreements can be filed with the court when circumstances change and new arrangements are needed. These requests are scheduled for the next available hearing on the family court’s calendar. However, an ex parte petition can be filed immediately when you encounter emergency child custody issues in California

Under California law, Family Code 3064 allows the court to temporarily grant an emergency change in custody without waiting on a full hearing under certain circumstances. This is a short-term solution to protect the safety and welfare of the child while more permanent arrangements are examined. Ex parte orders can influence any final custodial orders issued by the court.

When would such actions be necessary? CA Certified Family Law Specialist Judy L. Burger reviews some possible scenarios when emergency child custody issues can be handled through ex parte hearings. She can explain more and review your situation thoroughly in a confidential consultation at one of our offices.

What Justifies An Emergency Child Custody Petition?

California Family Courts typically allow at least a 15-day notice to involved parties before scheduling a hearing about child custody matters. However, when a true emergency threatens a child’s health and safety, the court can issue immediate orders to prevent harmful actions. Ex parte orders, sometimes called “emergency orders,” may be granted in select situations, including:

  • Child abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Neglect
  • Domestic violence
  • A parent’s physical or mental health condition
  • A parent’s arrest for drug use, drunk driving, or another serious crime
  • A sex offender in the home

Your request for an emergency child custody order must include definite evidence that such conditions exist and are a direct threat to the child. Heresy or opinions are not sufficient grounds for the court to immediately remove a child from another parent’s custody. Credible witnesses, photos, videos, text messages, or police reports are solid proof that the child is in danger and emergency orders are necessary to protect the child’s interests.

How Do I Request an Emergency Child Custody Action in CA?

​In addition to demonstrating a clear and imminent danger to the child’s welfare, you must provide several other items of information in your ex parte petition. These include the following:

  • Legal request form
  • Identity and contact information for the other parent and/or their attorneys
  • Current child custody, visitation, and support orders
  • Any previous requests or orders on this or similar matters
  • Reasons why the other parent should not be notified

Remember, you must provide sufficient evidence demonstrating the harm that could be suffered without the requested emergency custody orders. This is also a temporary solution. A formal hearing with both parents may be scheduled for a later date and other orders may be issued as a result.

It is critical that you adhere to California law in all matters relating to your child and custody matters. Emotional reactions to protect your child that violate the law or existing custody orders can complicate your case. Making decisions under stress can place you on the wrong side of the law.

Contact a California Certified Family Law Specialist to Help You Protect Your Children

Consult with CA Family Law Attorney Judy L. Burger immediately if you suspect an emergency custody action is necessary. She can act quickly to file an ex parte hearing petition and the necessary paperwork while helping you gather the required evidence to support your request. As a Certified Family Law Specialist in California, she can help you follow the law and protect your child.

Ms. Burger is not intimidated by difficult or high-conflict custody matters. She firmly believes that children must be protected from abusive, inappropriate, or other dangerous behavior and actions by parents or others. The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger will not rest until your child is safe. We will also work with you to completely resolve this matter in the best interests of your child and family.

Contact one of our eight offices in California today to discuss emergency child custody issues with a Certified Family Law Specialist who is on your side.

How to Modify Child Custody Arrangements

How to Modify Child Custody Arrangements

Parents may be able to mutually agree upon a parenting plan for their children. Sometimes, though, a judge has to decide how child custody will be handled before a divorce is finalized. No matter how or when the decisions were made, there may come a time that parents have to modify child custody arrangements.

Making the Decision

Parenting Plans and child custody arrangements typically are made keeping the best interests of the child in mind. But people and circumstances change. Some of the common reasons for altering a child custody arrangement include:

  • Refusing to allow the non-custodial parent to contact or visit the children;
  • Putting the children in an unsafe or dangerous environment;
  • Relocation of the non-custodial parent.

In addition, children may ask for a change in custody. Children over the age of 12 may be permitted to tell the judge who they want to live with.

Once one or both parents decide that changes should be made, the court becomes involved.

Filing the Paperwork

The parent requesting the change will file a Request for Order with the court. An additional form – the child Custody and Visitation (Parenting Time) Application Attachment is optional but may be helpful. Remember that you need to show a significant change in circumstances or some compelling reason to modify child custody arrangements.

After filing the Request for Order, you will be given a date to appear in court or to meet with a mediator. Court proceedings can be complicated, especially if the parents are unable to reach their own agreement.

Attending a Hearing

If parents are unable to arrive at a revised custody plan through mediation, they may have to appear in court. The judge may take limited testimony but may rely heavily on the documents filed with the clerk. After making a decision, the judge signs an order altering the terms of the custody arrangement.

It’s Possible to Modify Child Custody Arrangements

However, the court must see significant reasons to change custody before doing so. As always, California courts consider the best interests of the child in making any decisions.

To discuss how to modify child custody arrangements, please call us at 415-293-8314. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger assist clients in Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.