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How to File for Emergency Custody in Colorado

emergency custody By: Stephen J. Plog

Are you worried about your child’s safety when they spend time with their other parent? If there is a genuine danger present, you should consider filing an emergency custody motion.

An emergency custody petition causes the court to take quick action—usually within 48 hours—to review the facts and determine whether to issue an emergency custody order. At Plog & Stein P.C., our Colorado attorneys help guide family law clients through difficult situations. When your child is in danger, we work quickly and advocate forcefully to get the protection they need.

We help parents seek emergency custody in Colorado, working to persuade courts to make a decision that furthers the best interest of the child. Our attorneys approach each child custody case with honesty, integrity, and a passion for protecting children. 

Below, we’ll explain how to file for emergency custody in Colorado.

When Should You File an Emergency Custody Petition?

Colorado courts recognize two forms of child custody, parenting time and decision-making responsibilities. Parenting time refers to the parent physically caring for the child, while decision-making responsibilities include the authority to make medical or educational decisions. An emergency custody case usually involves restricting parenting time, though, on rare occasions, some situations call for an emergency review of decision-making responsibilities.

While you shouldn’t file a motion for frivolous reasons, imminently dangerous situations qualify for an emergency motion for custody. When you are genuinely concerned for your child’s safety while with the other parent, an emergency custody order can keep them safe.

You can seek an emergency custody order in these situations:

  • The other parent abuses your child; 
  • The other parent abuses a domestic partner; 
  • The other parent is abusing drugs; or 
  • The other parent is drinking and driving. 

The Colorado parenting time statute says that “the court shall not restrict a parent’s parenting time rights unless it finds that the parenting time would endanger the child’s physical health or significantly impair the child’s emotional development.” If your child is threatened by immediate danger, seek an emergency custody order.

How to File for Emergency Custody

Before filing an emergency custody motion, you should first speak with an experienced family lawyer. A lawyer will advise you on when and how to file a petition that is likely to be approved. 

Steps to File an Emergency Motion for Custody

Your lawyer will file an emergency motion for to restrict parenting time in your case. You must submit relevant, factual allegations as part of this motion. Helpful evidence includes:

  • Photographs, 
  • Text messages, 
  • Emails, 
  • Police reports, 
  • Medical reports, and 
  • Expert witness statements. 

This factual evidence helps the judge determine whether your claim is valid so they can make an informed decision on emergency child custody orders.

Don’t Take Damaging Action on Your Own

Don’t take any action on your own—like withholding your child from your ex, threatening them, or traveling to a different state—that could hurt your chances of maintaining your parenting time with your child. Instead, stay calm, and handle any dangerous situation with the help of the courts and the police, if needed.

What Happens After You File a Motion?

When you file a motion for emergency custody, the judge will probably review it within 48 hours. If the judge grants your motion, your ex will no longer have access to the children without supervision. This initial order is temporary in nature and will govern until a court hearing on your motion. 

The judge will then set a hearing, to take place within 14 days of your motion being filed.  At that hearing, you will need to prove that an imminent danger to the child exists which necessitates restricted visitation. Depending on the evidence presented by both parties, the judge may restore custody rights or continue to restrict them to supervised visitation.

Contact Our Experienced Attorney at Plog & Stein P.C.

If your child is in danger when they visit their other parent, you should consider immediate action. You need a family lawyer with experience filing emergency child custody motions.

At Plog & Stein P.C., we work to protect the best interests of children in custody disputes. We will take expedient action to help you gather evidence and present a compelling case for emergency child custody orders. With more than 50 years of combined experience, our family law attorneys have the knowledge and legal skill to advise you on custody concerns and help you take care, strategic steps to protect your child.

To learn how our experienced and intelligent legal team can assist you with an urgent child custody matter, contact us today for a consultation.