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Emergency Custody Order in South Carolina

emergency custody order in south carolina

When your child is in immediate danger, you will do anything to protect them. If your child is in danger with their custodial guardian, you’ll do whatever it takes to modify custody.

A custody modification can be overwhelming and time-consuming, especially if the other parent or guardian disagrees with your request. But when your child’s safety is at risk, you don’t have time to deal with a custody modification. Thankfully, other options are available to you, like emergency custody orders.

An emergency custody order is a beneficial resource if your child is in danger due to the current custody arrangement.

At Steele Family Law, we understand the struggles that come with child custody. We’re here to remind you that everything will be okay. Our team will help you request an emergency custody order to keep your child safe. We will fight for your family’s best interests.

Continue reading this article to learn what an emergency custody order is and why you might need to request one.

What is an Emergency Custody Order?

An emergency custody order allows you to request a change of custody in family court in the case of a true emergency. You might ask for this order if your child is in harm’s while staying with their custodial guardian. For example, suppose you believe your child is being physically abused. In that case, your best course of action is to request an emergency court order.

If the judge grants the request, a hearing will be held. You can explain the emergency issue during the hearing and provide the court with evidence. Then, the judge will decide whether or not to overturn or modify the current custody order.

South Carolina courts try to expedite emergency hearings to help children escape dangerous situations.

When Should You Request an Emergency Custody Order?

If you believe your child is in danger, you should request an emergency custody order.

Some dangerous situations that warrant an emergency request include:

  • Domestic violence or child abuse
  • Child neglect
  • Sexual abuse
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Criminal activity
  • Parental incapacity

This is not a complete list, as many situations could be considered emergencies. If you’re unsure if your child’s situation requires an emergency custody order, consult with a child custody lawyer.

How to File an Emergency Custody Order in South Carolina

To request an emergency court order in South Carolina, you must file a motion “for emergency temporary relief.” This document explains the emergency situation and why you believe emergency custody is necessary. An attorney can help you draft and file this motion.

Once a family court judge reviews the motion, they will decide what course of action to take. They will schedule an emergency custody hearing if they agree your motion warrants emergency attention.

During the hearing, both parties will submit sworn written testimony by affidavit and provide evidence. If the judge finds that your evidence does support that your child is in danger with the other party, you most likely will be granted emergency temporary custody of your child. This is usually a temporary solution, so you need to work with an attorney to plan your next steps.

What is Required for an Emergency Custody Order?

To request an emergency custody order, you must submit a motion. There are usually other court documents you must provide. Your attorney will ensure you have everything you need to file an emergency request. You also need evidence to support your emergency custody order.

Some forms of evidence can include:

  • Police reports
  • Testimony from third parties
  • Text messages or voice recordings
  • Photos or videos

Evidence is essential for proving that your child is in danger. If you’re worried about gathering enough evidence to prove your case, try to stay calm. A child custody attorney will help you collect evidence showing your child’s danger, and they will present it in front of the judge for you.

FAQ: SC Emergency Custody Order

What’s the difference between a temporary hearing, an expedited hearing, and an emergency hearing?

Temporary hearings are meant to resolve minor custody issues that can’t wait until the final resolution of the case. An expedited hearing is essentially a longer wait than an emergency hearing. In this situation, a judge decides the issue needs to be taken care of before a normal temporary hearing would be scheduled. Finally, emergency hearings are for dangerous situations that pertain to your child’s safety. These are also expedited, so your child can quickly move to safety.

How long does an emergency custody hearing take in South Carolina?

All cases are different, but emergency hearings are typically scheduled within a few days. Meanwhile, expedited hearings are usually scheduled within a week or two.

How can a child custody lawyer help me?

While you can file an emergency custody order yourself, working with an attorney will increase your chances of successfully helping your child.

An attorney will write your motion and help you find evidence. They will take care of all the legal issues, so you don’t have to worry about anything but your child’s well-being. Your child custody lawyer will do whatever it takes to ensure your child gets removed from the dangerous situation they are in.

Contact a child custody lawyer from Steele Family Law to seek justice for your child.

Author Bio

Greg Steele is CEO and Managing Partner of Steele Family Law, a South Carolina estate planning and family law firm. With years of experience in practicing law, he has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including divorce, child custody and support, estate planning, probate, and other legal cases.

Greg received his Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia and is a member of the South Carolina Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named among Anderson’s Top 20 Under 40 in 2022.

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