Emergency Child Custody Hearings in Florida

How to get Emergency Custody of a Child in Florida

Navigating the Florida legal system can be scary, especially when you’re dealing with a family emergency. The most common form of emergency family court hearing in Florida is over the custody of a child. We’ve laid out a simple guide that will help you navigate the complicated legal process required for acquiring custody of a child in Florida.

According to Florida law, no child custody agreement is ever set in stone. Whether you have majority time-sharing (sole custody) or equal time-sharing (joint custody), custody agreements can always be changed in court. Sometimes, things aren’t as easy as a simple agreement to change the amount of time each parent has with the child. When the safety of the child becomes an issue, an emergency motion to modify child custody is likely the smartest option.

1. Contact an attorney

The most important step in making sure you have a successful family court hearing is to contact a qualified legal team. The safety of a child is not a situation to take lightly, and it’s important to do everything you can to achieve the best outcome possible, especially when it comes to modification of child custody

2. File a motion for emergency custody

Once you’ve met with your attorney, they will help you formulate a plan that’s in the best interest of the child. If the child is in immediate danger, you have the option to file an emergency verified pickup order. This applies to situations where a parent with time-sharing rights fails to deliver a child to the other parent at the designated time. If the motion is approved, law enforcement will attempt to retrieve the child and return them to your custody.

3. Prepare for court

Child custody agreements can often be settled amicably out of court. When it comes to emergencies, however the courts are a lot stricter on how the motion will be handled. Your legal team will help you learn how to best prepare your case to ensure the best outcome.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Focus on what is in the child’s best interest
  • Do not dwell on personal conflict with the child’s other parent
  • Prepare proof for any claims made

Can you get Custody of a Child that’s not Yours?

There’s often a big misconception that only the mother or father are able to gain custody of a child after divorce. While it’s always the goal for the child to remain with the parents, there are several instances where neither parent is fit to provide adequate care. In these scenarios, the courts may decide that it’s most beneficial to the child for a non-parent to care for them, such as a grandparent or aunt and uncle, even if it’s on a temporary basis. 

Non-parents can gain custody of a child if: 

  • They have been part of the child’s life in some capacity for an extended period of time
  • They have proven they’re able to substitute for the parents in caring for the child
  • It would be a detriment to the child to stay with the parents

Whether you’re a biological parent seeking majority time-sharing, or a family member who thinks a child’s parents are unfit to care for them, contact LaFrance Family Law for the best representation in your emergency family court hearing.