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Attorneys Handling Cases of Emergency Child Custody Orders in San Diego


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When you are going through a divorce in San Diego, there are many types of court orders pertaining to child custody. Some may be permanent or for an extended period of time, while others are only temporary. There are also emergency orders, which one parent requires immediately in compelling circumstances involving the child.

Even if the family court judge has not issued a final custody order, you have rights as a parent during this uncertain time. If you are in the middle of a contentious child custody dispute and you believe the other parent’s actions may be jeopardizing your child’s safety, it is important for you to contact a San Diego family law attorney today to learn what steps you can legally take right now.

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Client Testimonial

"Mattis Law, A.P.C. recently helped me obtain emergency orders. They were quick to respond and helped walk me through the process to obtain the results I needed. I recommend them to anyone who needs help with family law."

- E.D. from Google


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Why Might an Emergency Child Custody Order Be Needed?

Emergency orders are ones a parent seeks from the court without notifying or getting permission from the other parent. These are usually in the form of ex parte orders, and they are not necessary in most divorce or child custody cases. Emergency orders are only applicable in urgent situations, which include suspected cases of:

There may be other situations that call for an emergency order, like if the other parent threatens to move out of state with the child or even move the child to live with a biased relative in your custody battle. A recent arrest of the other parent might also be a factor to consider. Whatever the reason and however many scenarios, if one parent feels as though the other is acting unfairly or placing the child in harm’s way, he or she can apply for an emergency custody order.

There are also times when a parent should not request an emergency custody order. It is important for you to know that these requests can have an impact on the final child custody order. If a parent unnecessarily requests an emergency order during a high-conflict child custody case, a judge may be less likely to grant that parent final custody.

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How a Family Court Judge Will Approach an Emergency Custody Order

Family law in California for child custody has very specific limits in place governing the issuance of an emergency custody order in an ongoing disagreement. There must be sufficient evidence showing the following:

  • Immediate harm to the child
  • Immediate risk that other parent will move out of California with the children

The court will evaluate what a parent presents regarding any acts of domestic violence, sexual abuse, or other actions the other parent allegedly committed against the child at the heart of the custody fight. The weight of the evidence from the judge’s consideration will determine whether a parent will be granted an emergency order.

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Defending or Fighting an Emergency Custody Order

When you are following through in filing a request for an ex parte child custody order, you need to make sure your evidence is solid enough to build a case for it. What you present needs to be relevant to your reasons behind the emergency order request, and your attorney can help you assess what you have on hand so you will not waste the judge’s time. Some forms of evidence to consider include:

  • Photos
  • Police reports
  • Medical records
  • Child protective services documentation
  • Witnesses
  • Text messages

Now, if you are on the receiving end of an emergency custody order that you believe is unfairly filed against you, you also have legal options. Within a few weeks of the judge granting an emergency custody order, there will be an additional hearing scheduled with you and other parent where you will both have a chance present evidence. Based on what you both present, the judge will decide whether to keep the current order in place or to overturn it.

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Other Ex Parte Orders

Ex parte orders can also deal with issues other than child custody. Spouses and ex-spouses can request them to prevent one another from selling or transferring assets, such as funds in bank accounts or houses. This can also apply to freezing a bank account, or asking the other spouse to take immediate action on an issue, like giving up tax information or repaying a debt.

These ex parte orders are only temporary court orders restricting one spouse’s actions in given situations. They are typically valid for about three weeks, until the court arranges a formal hearing date where both parties will be present. Only one party needs to request the order; and if a judge deems it necessary, he or she can put the order in place without the other party ever being notified of the change.

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Attorneys for Tough Custody Cases

If you believe that you are in a situation that requires an ex parte order, call Mattis Law, A.P.C. at (858) 926-5507. With a proven track record of over four decades in family law, our top-tier firm can help you decide whether an ex parte order is necessary, or if another course of action is best for what you face. This is a difficult time for all you have at stake, and you do not have to face it alone. We have an excellent track record in resolving difficult child custody and high-asset cases other firms refused to take. Let a San Diego family law lawyer guide you through the process today.

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Additional Information

(858) 328-4400

Mattis Law, A.P.C.
11455 El Camino Real, Suite 470
San Diego, California 92130
Office: (858) 328-4400
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Our Firm Services The Following California Areas:
San Diego, La Jolla, Del Mar, Carmel Valley, Rancho Santa Fe, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Pacific Beach, and Mission Beach.

Mattis Law, A.P.C. is a San Diego, California firm practicing exclusively in the area of domestic relations law. We handle a wide range of matters including divorce, child custody, and child support. Whatever your situation we can be of assistance. Feel free to contact us today.

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