Last Updated on April 1, 2023 by Benson Varghese
In Texas family law, emergency custody orders can play a critical role in ensuring the safety and well-being of children involved in a family dispute. Whether you are seeking to protect your own children or seeking custody of someone else’s children, it is important to understand the legal process for obtaining an emergency custody order in Texas.
What is an Emergency Custody Order in Texas?
An emergency custody order is a court order issued by a Texas judge that temporarily awards custody of a child to one party while a full custody hearing is pending. This type of temporary injunction order is typically sought in urgent situations, such as when a child is in immediate danger or when there is a risk of the child being removed from the state.
Understanding Emergency Custody Orders
Emergency custody orders, also known as temporary restraining orders (TROs) with orders of protection, are temporary court orders that can be issued without notice to the other parent in situations where a child’s immediate safety or well-being is at risk. These temporary orders can grant temporary custody to one parent or place restrictions on the other parent’s access to the child.
Some common situations in custody cases that may warrant an emergency custody order include:
Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
Child abandonment or neglect
Parental kidnapping or threats to remove the child from the state or country
Substance abuse or mental health issues posing an imminent danger to the child
Other urgent circumstances that jeopardize the child’s safety or well-being
The Process of Obtaining an Emergency Custody Order
Prepare the necessary documents: To request an emergency custody order, you must file a sworn affidavit with the court detailing the specific facts and circumstances that demonstrate the immediate danger to the child. Additionally, you need to complete a Petition for Temporary Restraining Order and a Proposed Order. These documents should be filed along with your divorce or modification petition.
Ex parte hearing: An ex parte hearing is a court proceeding where only one party is present. The judge will review your affidavit and other documents to determine if there is enough evidence to warrant an emergency order. If the judge agrees, they will issue a temporary order without the other parent’s input.
Serve the order: Once the emergency custody order has been granted, it must be served on the other parent by a process server or law enforcement officer. This ensures that the other parent is aware of the order and its restrictions.
Full hearing: Texas law requires that a full hearing be held within 14 days of issuing an ex parte emergency custody order. Both parties will have the opportunity to present their case, and the judge will decide whether to extend the temporary order, modify it, or dismiss it. If the emergency order is extended or modified, it will remain in effect until a final custody order is issued as part of the divorce or modification process.
When Can You Request an Emergency Custody Order in Texas?
In Texas, a request for an emergency custody order can be made at any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If a child is in immediate danger, the requesting party can go directly to a local law enforcement agency, who will assist in obtaining an emergency order. If the danger is not immediate, the request for protective order can be made through the local family court.
What Must Be Proven to Obtain an Emergency Custody Order in Texas?
To obtain an emergency custody order in Texas, the requesting party must show that the child is in immediate danger and that there is no other way to protect the child. The court will consider factors such as abuse, neglect, drug or alcohol abuse, and any other circumstances that threaten the child or other party’s safety.
How is an Emergency Custody Order Enforced in Texas?
Once an emergency custody order is issued in Texas, it is immediately enforceable. The order can be enforced by local law enforcement agencies, and in some cases, by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Failure to comply with an emergency custody order can result in criminal charges, including contempt of court.
Navigating the Emergency Custody Order Process with the Help of a Texas Family Law Attorney
Obtaining an emergency custody order in Texas’ courts can be a complex and confusing process. It is important to have the help of an experienced Texas family law attorney to guide you through the process and ensure that your rights and the rights of your children are protected.
The Role of an Experienced Family Law Attorney
Navigating the complex process of obtaining an emergency custody order in Texas can be challenging, particularly when emotions are running high. An experienced family law attorney can provide guidance and support during this critical time in custody case, helping you prepare the necessary documents, represent your interests during the ex parte hearing, and advocate for your child’s safety and well-being at the full hearing.
At Varghese Summersett, our skilled family law attorneys are committed to protecting your child’s best interests and ensuring that their safety and well-being are not compromised. Don’t face the challenges of an emergency custody situation alone. Call us today at (817) 900-3220 or contact us online for a consultation.