Getting an Emergency Custody Order in Florida

Follow these procedures to submit an urgent request for child custody in Florida:

•Contact a Florida family lawyer with experience –
•The lawyer will assess your case to determine what created the emergency and how to properly characterize the circumstance when submitting the emergency plea to the court.
•Submit a motion to the judge
•Prepare for court with the assistance of your attorney

Circumstances where immediate action is required to preserve the physical or mental safety of children by requesting emergency custody, is one that Family Law lawyers frequently deal with. An emergency motion for custody is also called Temporary Emergency Relief or an Emergency Motion To Suspend Contact.   Whatever the specific term used, a few things are common in these situations that a child custody attorney may assist with.

Important: If you believe someone is in immediate danger, always call the police first. Afterward, get in touch with us.

The statutes (§ 61.517 Temporary emergency jurisdiction) state

“A court of this state has temporary emergency jurisdiction 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.”

Principal justifications for awarding emergency custody:

•Abandoning a child
•Child maltreatment or abuse (actual or threatened)
•Actual or threatened domestic abuse against a child’s parent or sibling

Two Types of Emergency Motions

Ex-Parte motions

Ex-Parte Emergency Motions are filed and forwarded to the judge without giving the opposing party (typically the other parent) notice.

Ex-Parte Emergency Motions may be permissible in situations where there is a significant risk of the other parent removing the child from the state if they learn of the filing or where the child could suffer imminent damage if the other parent knows that a motion has been made.

Ex-parte emergency filings are uncommon since there aren’t many circumstances that warrant preclude notifying the opposing party of the motion, the hearing, or the fact that the judge is debating the motion before they have a chance to be heard or state their case. Florida is very cautious in bypassing a parent’s right to proper notice, especially in child custody cases, although it is far from unheard of. Suffice it to say; the situation would likely have to be dire.

Regular Emergency Motions Notifying the Opposing Party

The other emergency motion is a Regular Emergency Motion with notice to the opposing party. With a Regular Emergency Motion, the other party is given a chance to raise objections, make arguments, and provide evidence or witness testimony in response to this more conventional motion served on the other party.

What You Must Present to Receive Emergency Custody

How To Request Custody Immediately In Florida

Not only is it crucial for child custody attorneys to fully understand the factual situations that qualify for this level, but they also need to know how to effectively discuss and characterize the circumstance in Emergency Petitions submitted to the court.

Because of the “EMERGENCY” nature of the petition, judges typically decide whether or not to approve an emergency motion after quickly reading it and without listening to an argument from either parent. Therefore, the general understanding is it is safest for the child in a dire emergency warranting Emergency Custody to err on the child’s side first without hearing from the parents.

Because an Emergency Petition may omit crucial information that the court needs to know to use its powers, an emergency motion poorly drafted or written has a reduced probability of success.

Getting Emergency Child Custody in Florida

Important: If you believe someone is in immediate danger, call the police first! Follow up with your attorney after.

In Florida, the following scenarios are the most typical for a party looking for an Emergency Custody Order:

You’ll start by contacting a qualified family lawyer in Florida. The lawyer will assess your case to determine what happened and how to properly characterize the circumstance when submitting the emergency pleas to the court. Your requests’ outcomes heavily rely on an emergency motion that is well-written.

Next, the motion is submitted, with a copy sent to the judge’s office through email or hand.

Then the judge will review the motion the same day, and they will decide immediately whether the emergency motion’s claims are serious enough to warrant an urgent hearing.

Finally, the judge may issue an interim order providing the desired relief and schedule a hurried hearing if they determine that an emergency custody motion is justified.

Use Custody Emergency Motions Sparingly

In Florida, lawyers must only file for emergency custody in exceptional circumstances. This is so that judges in Florida Family Court can keep track of which attorneys file emergency motions frequently and which ones just occasionally.

Judges will readily concede that lawyers frequently submitting Emergency Motions don’t receive the same amount of seriousness as lawyers the judge is aware only submit this kind of petition in genuine emergencies.

Recommended Next Steps

Contact our office, Brandon Legal Group, and speak with a divorce law attorney immediately if you’re in greater Hillsborough County and believe seeking emergency custody may be your next move. Whether your circumstance qualifies as a true emergency in the eyes of the court can be determined by our family law attorneys.


Brandon Legal Group
1209 Lakeside Drive
Brandon FL, 33510
(813) 902-3576