Emergency Custody Petitions
What Is An Emergency Petition?
An emergency petition is a document filed with the court requesting a judge take immediate action. While the specific rules governing emergency petitions vary county-to-county, in general, an emergency petition can be filed in the following scenarios:
- You believe your child is being physically abused by his/her other parent or a member of their household
- You discover that your ex is planning to relocate with the children
- Your child’s other parent has been charged with a violent crime, such as assault, stalking or harassment – even if the charges were not brought by you
An emergency petition may not be filed because you and the other parent failed to agree on a school for your child and the school year is beginning soon, or because the other parent is not sticking to the agreed parenting plan. The latter scenario would require a Petition for Contempt.
The legal processes and requirements differ between counties in Pennsylvania. There are also different waiting periods. For example, some judges hold telephone conferences the same day your petition is filed and served on the other parent. In other counties, it can take a month or more to get a conference. Still others may require you to serve the other side and make an attempt to resolve issues on your own. Make sure you hire a lawyer with experience handling emergency petitions in your area.
Do Not Wait To Get Legal Help
If an event has occurred that truly calls for an emergency custody petition, do not wait to get legal help. When judges see that an event occurred months ago, or that a behavior — such as alcohol or drug use — has been happening for a long time, they are less likely to take your situation seriously. If you believe your children are in danger, act quickly.