How to File for Emergency Custody in Alabama

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Alabama Laws Child Custody
This article was reviewed and approved for publication by Attorney Charlotte Christian.
emergency custody order alabama

Knowing how to file for emergency custody in Alabama is crucial if you believe your children are in physical or emotional danger from their other parent or another caregiver.

If you do not have a custody order or if that order is putting your children in danger, you might need to take action.

When you initially file for custody, you can ask for an emergency or temporary order as part of your custody petition. Alternatively, you can seek an injunction to temporarily change the current custody order until you can go to court.

At this point, the judge can determine whether to keep or alter the current order. This requires asking for relief during a brief court appearance before a family court judge.

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What is Emergency Custody in Alabama?

Under AL Code § 30-3B-204, an emergency custody order may be possible under certain circumstances. This statute says a court can issue this type of order:

“…if the child is present in this state and the child has been abandoned, or it is necessary in an emergency to protect the child because the child, or a sibling or parent of the child, is subjected to or threatened with mistreatment or abuse.”

Getting an emergency custody order generally requires you to go before a judge in a special hearing. The judge will hear why you believe your child is in danger and you have an urgent need to change the physical custody of your child or children. To get this hearing on the docket, you—or your attorney—will need to file a petition, including the proper paperwork.

The Judge Could Grant You Emergency Custody

The relief you seek is an emergency change in custody in this situation. The only thing discussed in this hearing is why an urgent custody order is needed. The judge will listen to your side of things, review the evidence, and rule on your request.

If granted, it will be temporary and will only last until you have a court date to determine permanent orders. When this appearance is put on the docket depends on the court and many other factors.

For a free legal consultation, call (256) 302-8846

Petitioning an Alabama Family Court for an Emergency Custody Order

The Alabama Administrative Office of Courts offers a number of do-it-yourself forms and instructions for filing. You could complete the form and follow the instructions for submitting it in the county where the children live. However, you will also need to collect evidence and present it during your hearing. Because your children’s safety is in question, you might want to work with a trusted divorce and child custody attorney.

If you file for an emergency injunction to protect your children, you might need to fight for custody of them later. You could be in a situation where you believe sole custody is the safest option for your children. You might want to prevent all contact with an abusive or otherwise unfit parent.

You might want to retain a law firm that will advocate for you and your children and can represent your best interests from day one through the conclusion of your case. Hiring one to help you now with your emergency petition means you already have someone familiar with your case when it is time to go to court later.

Working With Attorney on Your Custody Case

When you have the right Alabama divorce lawyer on your side, you have someone guiding you through the process from start to finish. We can file your urgent paperwork and help gather strong evidence to show why you need an emergency custody order to protect your child or children. We can also explain how this process works, represent you throughout your case and fight to protect your children’s emotional and physical well-being.

After helping you through petitioning for emergency custody, we will begin to build a case for why you should have permanent custody (if this is what is best for the children). We will manage all aspects of your custody case, developing a strong argument that shows you are the best parent to provide care for your child based on the factors the judge must consider when ruling on your case.

We are here for you and your children during this difficult time. We can offer representation, advocacy, information, and the peace of mind of having someone on your side when you are unsure where to turn for help.

Learn More About Getting Help to File Your Custody Petition

If you need to petition for an emergency custody order in Alabama, our team is here for you. We have offices in Huntsville, Athens, and Birmingham. You can learn about your legal options for protecting your children by working with a Huntsville divorce attorney from Charlotte Christian Law.

Call (256) 302-8846 now to get help, support, information, and representation from our team of attorneys.

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