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How to Get Ex Parte Emergency Custody in NC

If you are concerned about the wellbeing of your child when they are in the custody of the other parent or you're a family member who feels a child may be in danger with their parents, you may be considering filing for emergency custody or an ex parte order. This is a complex, difficult legal matter, so Glenn Doyle, a child custody attorney in Raleigh, is breaking down what an ex parte order is, the criteria for obtaining one, and the process of obtaining emergency custody.

What Is an Ex Parte Order?

An Ex Parte Order for child custody is an immediate, temporary custody order granted by the court during extreme, emergency circumstances. It is also the temporary no-contact protective order used in domestic violence cases but in this case, we are referring to the emergency custody order to avoid confusion.

During this legal proceeding, the petitioner brings compelling information related to why emergency custody is necessary for the well-being of the child. The judge can then grant or deny this order without the presence of the other party. At the same time, an emergency custody order is granted, and a hearing with both parties is scheduled within ten days in order to determine if a long-term custody arrangement needs to be made or if the children are safe in the current situation.

The Legal Criteria for Obtaining an Ex Parte Order

Ex parte orders are extremely rare because the custody order can only be granted when there's a substantial risk of:

  • Physical harm coming to the child
  • Sexual abuse
  • The child is taken out of state specifically for the parent or guardian to avoid legal proceedings

How to Petition the NC Court for Ex Parte

If you feel your child or a child in your immediate family is at risk for the above criteria while they are in care of the other parent, you may petition the court by filing a motion along with a sworn statement of the facts regarding why the child is at risk of abuse or leaving the state. The judge will make a temporary decision to last no longer than 10 days before a merit hearing with both sides present will take place.

Having an experienced child custody attorney on your side is important during this complex process. Your lawyer will understand what paperwork needs to be filed as well as how to present the information in a truthful manner that also conveys the urgency of the situation.

What Happens If Emergency Custody Is Granted?

If the judge does grant custody, you will get immediate custody of the child for no longer than 10 days. The parent is required to turn over custody of the child, and often the police will pick up the child if there is a concern of violence or confrontation. After this, a hearing will take place in which the parent in question can respond to allegations and defend themselves.

Schedule a Consultation with a Child Custody Attorney

If you fear for your child or for a child in your life, and you would like to file for emergency custody, call our office at (919) 301-8843 or fill out the contact form below. We will provide experienced legal representation and help you navigate the challenges of both an emergency custody order as well as the ongoing custody changes that may be necessary.

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