Hello. I’m Carter Allen, the lead attorney at Holcomb Law. One of the most misunderstood topics in the area of family law is what would constitute an emergency as it pertains to child custody. Perhaps it would be useful to begin with what would not be determined to be an emergency. I planned to take my child to King’s Dominion next weekend, however, the custodial parent is objecting, I need an emergency hearing, would not be considered an emergency under Virginia law. While Virginia primarily defines emergency custody in terms of emergency removal by Child Protective Services, the reasoning the courts use is also useful and applicable to private parties. Synthesized for application to private parties, if a child has been abused or neglected under the law’s definition, that child may be the proper subject for emergency custody. An abused and neglected child under Virginia law is defined as one who would be subjected to imminent threat of life or health to the extent that severe or irremediable injury would likely result if the child were left in the custody of his current guardian.
Furthermore, the courts will determine whether reasonable efforts have been made to prevent removal of the child from his home, and whether there are any less dramatic alternatives to the removal of the child from his home which would reasonably protect the child’s life help. If these conditions are present, the party seeking emergency custody is advised to contact the police and Child Protective Services prior to filing any action with the court. The courts will rely heavily on the opinion of these agencies and most judges will not even entertain an emergency motion with this step not having been taken. The professionals at Holcomb Law have experience in this very sensitive type of case, and we stand prepared to protect you and your child should that need occur?