child in car

As a parent, when you decide to end your marriage, understandably, the safety and overall well-being of your children are your top priority. Naturally, you want to do everything you can to protect them from harm. If you believe that your child is in imminent danger if they remain in the custody of their other parent, you can file a petition for an emergency custody order. With the delicate nature of this situation, it’s in your best interest to contact our trusted Monmouth County Child Custody Attorneys, who can help you ensure your child’s welfare. Please continue reading to learn when to place a child in emergency custody in New Jersey.

What Is an Emergency Child Custody Hearing?

If you suspect that your child is in a dangerous situation under the care of your former spouse, you will want to take immediate action to get them out of harm’s way. Fortunately, New Jersey courts address potential threats to a child through an emergency child custody hearing. In most cases, when there’s a child custody dispute, a complaint seeking custody is a lengthy process that can take months. However, when a child needs to be removed from a potentially dangerous situation, a parent can essentially jump the line and immediately be reviewed by a judge in a hearing to ensure the child’s safety. Essentially, it provides immediate court decisions when a child is experiencing or is at risk of abuse, neglect, or parental kidnapping. In some cases, the circumstances may warrant an emergency custody order.

What Are the Grounds for an Emergency Custody Order in New Jersey?

At its discretion, the court may issue an emergency custody order, which would assign custody from one parent to the other or to another relative to remove the child from a potentially dangerous situation. However, this temporary solution is only possible if you can demonstrate that there are grounds for it and you can prove those grounds. The standard for establishing the need for an emergency custody order is relatively high. Therefore, you must demonstrate that the child’s environment is dangerous and must be changed immediately to protect them against harm. The following are possible grounds for obtaining an emergency court order:

  • A child has been physically, sexually, or mentally abused by the parent or someone else in the household
  • A child has been taken to another state or country without the permission of the other parent or the courts¬† (known as parental kidnapping)
  • A parent has been arrested or accused of a crime
  • The child has been exposed to a substance abuse or mental health issue in the home by the parent or someone else in the household
  • The standard of living has become untenable through the termination of utilities, eviction, etc.
  • ¬†Both parents have suddenly passed away or are otherwise incapacitated and are unable to care for their child adequately

Remember that when you file for an emergency order, you must be prepared to provide the imminent threat of danger with clear evidence. If you are concerned about your child’s welfare, please don’t hesitate to contact a determined attorney from Paone Zaleski & Murphy, who can help you ensure your child’s safety.