If my ex is putting my child in danger how do I get an emergency court order?

How Do I Get An Emergency Court Order?

Emergency orders are temporary orders issued quickly in cases of domestic violence or child abuse. In a custody case, for the court to issue an emergency orders, it will want proof of what is called “irreparable harm”. This refers to serious harm or risk of harm to the child if an order is not issued. For example, if there is a real danger that the other parent will abuse or abduct the child. 

To obtain an emergency custody order, prepare a motion or petition that explains the pressing issue and file it with the court. You should have a lawyer write this because it affects how quickly the court hears your case. 

Following are some of the ways you can use to get an emergency court order:

  1. Gather Information And Evidence.

You must organize yourself and keep track of all essential and relevant documents. For example, if the other parent is refusing to comply with a custody order it is a good idea to request, in writing, by text or email, that the other parent return the child. It can then be shown at a hearing that the other parent refused to follow the custody order, even when specifically requested. 

You should also have any documents, letters, texts, etc., that support or validate your experience on hand to take action, because the court will require proof. Example include:

  • Agreements, orders, and judgments.
  • Journal or log documenting any visitation-related incidents.
  • All relevant texts and emails.
  • The contact information and names of any relevant witnesses.

2. Obtain a Restraining Order

If you you are in danger, consult with an attorney about obtaining an order of protection. Whatever state you live in, the courts will have a procedure in place to hold an emergency hearing to determine whether you  require protection.  If a restraining order is granted, courts in most states, including New Hampshire, have the authority to issue a temporary custody order as part of the restraining order.

The judge will issue a restraining order, also known as an order of protection if it is decided that protection is required. In New Hampshire, the person seeking the order needs to show that they are in credible fear of abuse and the other parent has committed at least one act of domestic violence. When children are involved, your lawyer should include a proposed order that gives the police authority to deliver your child to you if a restraining order is approved. Find and report any prior incidents of physical or emotional abuse, risky behavior, or stalking that you want the judge to consider. 

Bring any photos, doctor’s reports, or other documents that support your claims, such as police reports, videos, emails or text messages about any of these topics. If you prove your case at a hearing you can obtain a protection order that prevents your ex from contacting you for up to a year. The judge may also grant you complete or partial custody.

3. Emergency Relief Motion

Whether you have an existing custody order or parenting agreement, or if nothing has been formally decided, filing a motion for emergency relief is another way to obtain protection. You can also seek emergency relief if your minor child is in imminent danger of serious and immediate harm. 

If you have evidence of abuse, you can quickly get in front of a judge who can grant you relief. It is great to hire a professional lawyer who will prepare the necessary pleadings, raise the relevant issues, and present the facts most convincingly to the judge. This process may take longer than the first discussed, but the relief will last longer than a protection order.

4. Call Child Protective Services

Each county and jurisdiction has an agency to intervene in cases where child abuse or neglect is suspected. When someone calls protective services (in New Hampshire known as DCYF,. which stands for the Division of Children Youths and Families)  a caseworker is assigned to look into the abuse or neglect allegation. If abuse or neglect is discovered, the caseworker can file a court case on behalf of the State.

The DCYF caseworker may get in touch with neighbors, teachers, and other members of the extended family to decide whether a case has to be opened. DCYF may restrict or suspend your ex’s access to your child, depending on the seriousness of the allegations. 

However, one drawback of this method is that it can take weeks or months to complete the investigation, and there is no guarantee that the results will favor you and your child. If the claim is deemed false, it can actually hurt you in court. So make sure your claim is legitimate before you call DCYF, and bring them any evidence you have.

A Combination of the Three

In your case, combining the three types of relief mentioned above may be the best option. It is strongly recommended that you speak with a qualified attorney who can help you navigate the legal system to decide how to best safeguard your child. 

If you need help navigating a family law case, contact our experience Concord, New Hampshire family law attorneys. We’ve dealt with every type of situation imaginable and think outside of the box to get you a favorable outcome.

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