This is the next post in my series on filing for an emergency change of child custody in Melbourne, Florida. My last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing and stressed the need contact a family law attorney if you believe that your child is in danger. It is important that you take immediate steps to protect your child or else the Court may be less likely to view the situation as an emergency. In this post I will discuss signs that a parent should look for to determine if an emergency situation exists.
It is important to understand that, as far as the Court is concerned, an “emergency” exists when a child is in legitimate danger. It is not uncommon for parents to blow a disagreement out of proportion and to see such arguments as emergencies. If the child is not at risk of injury, or some type of psychological or emotional trauma, then the Judge is unlikely to see the matter as a crisis. Attempting to claim that there is imminent danger, when there is not, can result in the reporting parent having their time with the child reduced.
There are some situations in which the potential risk to a child is obvious. If you are picking your child up from the other parent and you regularly see bruises, or signs of abuse, then you should call an attorney as soon as possible. Other signs of potential harm can include your young one displaying odd behaviors related to sexual conduct, the child asking questions that make it seem as if the other parent may be abusing drugs, or if you receive reports from the child’s teachers stating that there have been sudden and extreme changes in behavior. If the child is in your care when you notice such issues then it is best to consult with counsel in order to determine whether the situation rises to the level of making a report.
If the child is in imminent danger then your lawyer may advise the filing of a report with Child Protective Services. CPS will investigate the matter and determine if immediate intervention is needed. It will also be necessary to file an emergency Motion to Modify Child Custody with the Court. In such situations the Judge will often grant expedited hearing. I will discuss this process further in an upcoming blog post.
If you believe that your child is in danger then it is important that you do not take the situation into your own hands. Engaging in “self help” can do more harm than good. As a Melbourne child custody attorney I regularly assist Florida parents with such situations. Contact my office today to speak with a lawyer. My office also services clients in the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.