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Emergency Custody Considerations

Whenever it becomes necessary to protect the wellbeing of the child, filing for emergency custody may be in order. Georgia courts are strict about what constitutes such a need, so it becomes important to collect information to meet their requirements in a race against time. How can the child’s wellbeing be documented? Are there any witnesses? This is important information to discuss with your lawyer.

If domestic abuse is involved, the other parent can immediately obtain a domestic abuse restraining order. In other cases, supporting affidavits would have to be collected to substantiate the necessity for immediate relief to protect the child. Such instances include:

  • Risk of flight
  • Physical harm
  • Medical harm
  • Other extreme issues

When a parent won’t turn over a passport, there is a risk of flight, and the court recognizes that it must become involved quickly. Therefore the court is often willing to hear these pleas on a rapid basis.

In most cases of protection, service of process will need to be made to the other parent first. The parent will be given a set amount of days in which to respond. 

However, in urgent circumstances, and supported by strong affidavits, an attorney can get what is called ex-parte relief which allows them to get a court order to protect the child before service of process.

Also, it depends on whether the child is legitimated. Unless you are the child’s legally recognized father, you may not have authority to bring a custody case, except under dire circumstances where the child may be in danger. Then the court will often overlook the question of legitimation in favor of the need for emergency custody.

Scott Shaw is founder and principal of Shaw Law Firm PC, founded in 1995 and dedicated solely to divorce, family law and child custody matters that must be addressed and decided in the state of Georgia. Shaw Law Firm has offices in Dunwoody/Sandy Springs and serves the greater Metro Atlanta area, particularly the counties of Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Henry, Fayette, Coweta, Newton, Walton, Bartow and Douglas. Schedule a consultation today or call us at 770-594-8309.