In cases where a child could come to immediate harm or risks removal from the state, parents can seek emergency hearings to obtain parental responsibility. While these cases often come with large amounts of stress, the process for seeking emergency hearings is relatively simple.
Understanding the Circumstances for Emergency Hearings
If a parent wishes to attend an emergency hearing, he or she will be required to file a petition with the court that indicates that there is an emergency situation that needs to be resolved. Cases excluded from emergency hearings are typically those that involve minor disputes over child support or visitation rights.
However, situations that endanger the child’s overall health or well-being typically warrant emergency hearings. These certain situations include ones involving the presence of a known sex offender endangering the child, abuse or neglect, one parent’s refusal to allow the other to see the child, or one parent’s substance abuse.
Gathering and Presenting Evidence
During the emergency hearing, the judge will only hear evidence regarding the situation resulting in the hearing. Matters pertaining to child support or property distribution, among others, will only be discussed in a trial. The individual who requested the hearing will be responsible for presenting the evidence, which could include medical records, child protective services reports, sworn statements, or statements made by either the parent or child.
Order from the Judge
Following the presentation of evidence along with arguments made by both parents, the judge will issue a temporary order, which could last for days or until the issuing of the final order. Keep in mind that the judge may immediately issue an order or wait a few days to issue one. Under certain circumstances in child abuse cases, the judge may permit the abusive parent to see the child through limited supervised visitation. However, the judge may also order the abusive party to attend anger management or parenting courses.
Once the issue has been ordered, most states will avoid using it as evidence at a trial, instead of considering evidence of abuse presented at the hearing. In all cases, parental responsibility will be decided based on what the state considers to be in the child’s best interests.