What warrants a temporary emergency custody order?

Griffin Law, PLLC
Aug 18, 2023

A divorce must have taken a turn for the worst if a parent, grandparent or any relative files for a North Carolina temporary emergency custody order.

The state takes a child’s well-being seriously. Courts only grant emergency custody in the most severe cases. A typical disagreement on a parental concern is usually not enough reason to take the child out of their current home. In the end, the judge must thoroughly investigate if such a move will serve the child’s best interests.

Grounds for a temporary emergency order

The state’s courts often favor a resolution that provides a stable environment for the child, which makes them inclined not to immediately approve changes in the child’s living or custodial conditions.

But there are exceptional circumstances grave enough to be grounds for a temporary emergency custody order. An ex parte hearing – where the opposing parent does not receive notification about the case or is not present during the proceeding – is also possible if the child’s situation poses a substantial risk of:

  • Bodily injury or harm
  • Sexual abuse
  • Abduction or removal from the state to evade court judgment

Depending on the gravity of the situation, petitions may take effect within days of filing. The judge could also issue an enforceable warrant for authorities to take physical custody of the child. If there are no less disruptive or invasive methods to obtain the child, officers may forcibly enter private property at any time of the day.

Further, a temporary order only becomes permanent when a parent secures physical and legal child custody. Then, a permanent order ends when the child becomes 18 or emancipated, or if the court modifies the custody order altogether.

In pursuit of permanence

When a child’s safe and stable future is on the line, a parent cannot afford to take matters into their own hands and opt for self-representation. Filing a temporary emergency order entails filling out forms and speaking with authorities about critical details, which may be beyond a parent’s depth of legal knowledge. Having counsel to navigate the process could be the reassuring voice a parent needs during these chaotic times.

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