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When can parents obtain an emergency custody order in Ohio?

by | Nov 1, 2023 | Divorce

Ohio custody orders are often the result of protracted legal negotiations. People either present their case to a family law judge in Ohio or negotiate an arrangement with the other parent of their children. It can take many months to go from the initial filing of court paperwork to a final custody order.

In a small number of cases, the Ohio family courts will issue an emergency temporary custody order. Parents who believe they need to take immediate action for their protection or the protection of their child can seek an emergency custody order.

When is an emergency custody order possible?

There are two scenarios under Ohio State statutes that justify an emergency custody order. The first is when parents have abandoned a child. The second is when the child, their siblings or one of their parents has experienced abuse or is under immediate harm of abuse. To obtain an emergency custody order, the parents seeking the order will typically need to show the courts that there is abuse that could cause irreparable harm to the child.

What evidence is necessary to obtain an emergency custody order?

Ending a parent’s time with a child is a very drastic step. Therefore, the courts generally want to see very strong evidence supporting someone’s request for an emergency custody order, such as police reports or reports filed with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

If there haven’t been formal complaints made with law enforcement or child protective agencies, then medical records could potentially help prove that immediate action is necessary. There could also be video footage of interpersonal interactions with an abusive parent or photographs of the injuries that a child suffered because of a parent’s actions. Electronic communications or recordings showing that one parent has threatened a child, their sibling or their parent could also help.

How does a parent obtain an emergency custody order?

The parent concerned about the safety of a child would file paperwork with the Ohio family courts. Such filings typically receive priority consideration, and a hearing will typically occur within one week. Sometimes, an emergency custody order hearing can take place the same day that someone files the paperwork.

The temporary order will take effect as soon as a judge issues it and will remain in place until a future custody hearing, at which point the courts will enter a permanent order. Parents are not the only ones who can file an emergency custody hearing request in Ohio. Any adult with reason to worry about a child’s immediate safety can potentially take legal action.

The more evidence there is of abuse, threats or neglect, the easier it may be for someone to at least temporarily remove a child from a dangerous situation. Learning the basics about emergency custody orders may benefit those concerned about the well-being of a child that they love in Ohio. Therefore, seeking legal guidance is important for those who have questions and/or need support in this regard.