In all cases involving child custody or child support, Arkansas courts will use the child’s best interests as the basis for every decision. Once a divorce has been finalized, the courts will have issued orders on matters like division of property, child support, custody, and alimony if applicable. While these are technically final decisions, circumstances can always change in the lives of divorced parents or their children — making it necessary to change the order.

Factors like job loss, drug usage, physical violence by a new girlfriend or boyfriend, changing work schedules, relocation, injury or illness, and other major changes can influence the modification of a custody order. Unfortunately, sometimes new developments can put the children at risk of imminent harm.

That’s where an emergency custody order can be necessary to protect children. When a child is in immediate danger of irreparable harm — even outside the context of marriage or divorce — the court can quickly issue an order to change the child’s living situation and keep them safe.

If your child is in immediate danger, an ex parte emergency custody order will set up a fast plan for the child’s care instead of having to wait weeks or months for a court to resolve the case.

In what situations can you get an emergency custody order?

You must prove to the court that your child’s health, safety, or well-being is in immediate danger. The court will need enough evidence that the child’s safety and welfare are at immediate risk.

What can the order actually do?

The most obvious use of the emergency custody order is that it removes your child from the custody of a problematic parent, guardian, or custodian. It will transfer custody to you, temporarily, and put safeguards in place to protect your child. For example, the order can prevent the other parent from having any contact with your child and prohibit him/her from taking the child away from your home.

How does the process work?

In a nutshell, your lawyer will file a motion for emergency custody with the court. The motion will include the details of your case, including specifics about the dangers to your child in the custody arrangement. If the judge grants an order in your favor, it will take effect immediately, and everyone involved in the order will receive a notice explaining the details of your petition. The notice must include the details of a hearing to be held within a few business days from the date the emergency order was issued.

If your child is at risk, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. The OMG Law Firm will argue aggressively for your right to keep your child safe. We will also explain your options thoroughly and help you choose the best course of action. Call our law firm to discuss your custody issues with an experienced and compassionate attorney.