Law Blog

What Qualifies as Emergency Custody?

Picture of a baby holding onto an adult's pinky finger.

Are you concerned about how your child is being treated when they’re with their other parent? Is there a chance that the other parent might try to take your child out of the state against your wishes? Or, conversely, has the other parent threatened to file an emergency motion to alter your existing custody (parental responsibility) or visitation (time-sharing) arrangement?

In any of these scenarios, your first question will likely be, “What qualifies as emergency custody?” What would you (or your child’s other parent) have to prove in order to immediately get temporary custody of your child without having to go through the standard modification process?

Florida Statute 61.534 states that “[i]f the court, upon the testimony of the petitioner or other witness, finds that the child is likely to imminently suffer serious physical harm or removal from this state, it may issue a warrant to take physical custody of the child” (emphasis added).

So, what would make a court likely to issue such a determination? Emergency custody is decided on a case-by-case basis, and outcomes will vary depending on several different factors. With that being said, courts often grant petitions for emergency custody when the other parent has:

  • Abused or neglected the child
  • Threatened to abduct the child
  • Exhibited severe substance abuse issues

The Firm to Choose for Help With Emergency Custody Petitions

If you need to file for emergency custody—or if you suspect that your child’s other parent will be filing their own petition—you’ll benefit from having a knowledgeable advocate on your side. Luckily, if you’re in the Tampa Bay area, you can turn to the skilled team at the Law Offices of Audrey A. Jefferis, P.A. We’re a respected family law firm that regularly handles custody and visitation cases, and we have extensive experience with emergency custody petitions.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation—we have offices in New Port Richey, FL, and Palm Harbor, FL. And if someone is in imminent danger, please contact law enforcement as soon as possible.

The divorce and Family Law Attorneys at The Law Offices of Audrey A. Jefferis provide services in the following counties: Pasco County, Pinellas County, Hernando County and Hillsborough County. Let us help you today!

How Can We Help You

Need legal representation? Fill in our contact form with some information about your case/concern. One of our representatives will respond to you shortly.