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Filing for Emergency Custody in Arizona

When a situation emerges that threatens the wellbeing of your child, you can seek emergency custody. According to Arizona laws, either parent can file for emergency custody of their child to protect his or her welfare. The courts will investigate the claims and decide whether to grant custody to the parent and what alternative options to pursue to ensure the child’s safety.

Overview of Arizona Emergency Child Custody Law

In Arizona, an emergency custody order is also known as a temporary order. When the order is filed, the court will grant legal and physical custody of a child to one parent or another party.
A child custody order gives one parent or party physical custody of the child in question for a limited time frame. The time frame is usually until the full case is heard and determined in court. Arizona emergency custody is usually granted in situations where a child faces the possibility of severe or irreparable body harm.

How to Qualify for Emergency Child Custody

An emergency child custody order is not easily granted. This is because the person filing the order must prove to the court that the child is in a high-risk environment wherever he or she lives at the moment. Generally, it is advisable to work with a family law attorney to help you establish and document the circumstances surrounding the child that may be detrimental to his or her welfare.

The circumstances that may qualify you to be given emergency child custody in Arizona include:
When the health, safety, or welfare of the child is in serious and immediate jeopardy
When someone is likely to cause immediate bodily harm to the child

Apart from the above, you must have filed or been in the process of filing another petition that would affect the custody of the child. For example, you may be requested to modify the legal decision-making rights of the child, or parenting time.

The paperwork for an emergency custody order can be filed together or separately with the petition that would affect child custody.

Repercussions for False Claims

Child custody petitions are taken very seriously, and filing one when there isn’t a real emergency can lead to severe consequences. For example, you are not allowed to file an emergency petition just because you are angry at the other parent or want to deny him/her access to the child.
Lying in your petition can lead to consequences such as fines and other sanctions that the judge may deem fit.

Duration of Emergency Child Custody in Arizona

As captured in Title 25-404 of Arizona law, emergency child custody orders stay in place until a court hearing. During the hearing, the court will determine the next course of action, which will usually be a more permanent situation for the child.

Depending on the court’s calendar, the emergency child custody hearing can take from two weeks to a couple of months.

Arizona emergency custody hearings are typically scheduled faster and often held without the other parent being present. During the hearing, you will have to present all the evidence you have gathered to show that the child will be in danger when in the hands of the other parent. Examples of evidence that you can present include photographs, medical records, sworn statements, and testimonies from Child Protection Services.

If the court determines that there is enough evidence to show that the child is in danger, an emergency order will be issued. The order will be in place until the next hearing, where the other parent will be invited to defend himself/herself against the claims. The timeframe for the emergency order will vary depending on the court’s calendar.

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