When Are Emergency Custody Orders Necessary in New York?

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As you likely have already come to realize, if you find yourself in this situation, divorce is an emotionally exhausting and stressful process, especially if children are involved. During your divorce, you and your former spouse will have to address the topic of child custody. Child custody is often a contentious issue. However, once the court has ordered a parenting time agreement, you must comply with the terms. Following your divorce, if you believe that your child is in danger while in the care of their other parent, you may not know how to proceed. Depending on the circumstances of why you fear for your child, you may have grounds to file a petition for an emergency custody order. Please continue reading to learn when to place a child in emergency custody and how a trusted Suffolk County Child Custody Attorney can help you ensure your child’s welfare. 

What is an Emergency Custody Order?

When a parent has a legitimate reason to believe their child is experiencing or is at risk of abuse, neglect, or parental kidnapping, they can request an emergency custody order. Emergency custody is a temporary order issued when a child is in imminent danger. With this order, the custody of a child is re-assigned from one parent to another to ensure the child’s safety. Essentially, by filing a petition with the court for emergency custody, you fear that the other parent will cause irreparable harm to your child. The court will intervene by removing the child from the potentially dangerous situation. Typically, when there is a child custody dispute, you must file a petition to modify your existing custody agreement, which can be lengthy. However, if the child is in imminent danger, New York courts recognize that parents need an immediate outlet to keep their child out of harm’s way. Therefore, they issue this temporary solution to safeguard a child’s well-being.

What Are the Grounds for Emergency Custody in New York?

While you can petition for emergency custody if you fear for your child, you will have to prove there are grounds for it before the court approves and issues the temporary order. It’s crucial to note that in some cases, a non-parent can petition for temporary emergency custody if there are extraordinary circumstances, such as the child being abused or neglected, the parent going to prison, or the parent abandoning the child. The standard of proving immediate or irreparable harm is relatively high. You will be burdened with demonstrating that the child’s environment is dangerous and must be changed immediately to ensure their safety. The following include but are not limited to some of the grounds for emergency custody in New York:

  • The parent has physically, sexually, or mentally abused the child
  • The parent has neglected or abandoned the child
  • The living situation has undergone an adverse change, making it otherwise not habitable
  •  The parent has threatened to remove the child from New York
  • The parent has taken the child to another state or country without the permission of the other parent or court (parental kidnapping)
  • The parent has a substance abuse or mental health issue that has negatively impacted the child
  • The parent is interfering with visitation or failing to comply with a court order

When you file for an emergency custody order, you must be prepared with clear and convincing evidence. If you believe your child is in danger, please don’t hesitate to contact a determined attorney from The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C., who can help you navigate this complex process.

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What Our Clients Are Saying

I hired Susan to represent me in a divorce matter where I was fighting for custody and to limit my wife's equitable share of our assets. I won custody of our son, kept the marital residence, kept my professional practice, kept my building and paid less than half to my wife. This was after a long-term marriage. She could persuade the court that equitable is not equal and sometimes the man does deserve to win!

‐ Dave

I first must say that I had been represented by two prior attorneys both of whom had simply taken my money and left me nothing to show for it in my custody case. They kept telling me what they were doing for me but I found out they were lying. Susan on the other hand had gotten me temporary custody and support for my children and myself within two months of hiring her. I cannot say enough about her.

‐ Craig

After talking to a few other attorneys, I hired Susan to represent me in my divorce and custody dispute. I was reluctant to go with her because she was the cheapest out of all the other attorneys I met with, but I'm so glad I did. I am 100% positive no one else would have done such a great job with my case as Susan and her staff. Her work is quality, her staff is reliable and her character is honorable. There...

‐ Linda

I had a very difficult case where I had already burned through two attorneys who were unable to get me custody of my children and complete my divorce. Susan was able to rapidly work out an agreement and not let it just malinger on like my previous experiences. She was also considerate of my financial situation unlike all of the other lawyers I had spoken to. I highly recommend her if you want complete and caring service with an in-depth knowledge of...

‐ Joanne


The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. proudly serves clients throughout Suffolk County, New York in their divorce, family law, and estate planning matters. If you require the services of an experienced Suffolk County attorney, schedule a consultation with The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. today.

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