In North Carolina, an emergency custody order is an instant, temporary custody order that a judge can grant under emergency circumstances, without any action from the other party and without notice being given to the other party. Under North Carolina law, a judge may grant an emergency custody order if one or more of the following is present:

  1. A substantial risk of bodily injury to the child, or
  2. A substantial risk of sexual abuse to the child, or
  3. A substantial risk that the child may be abducted or removed from North Carolina.

What is the procedure for getting emergency custody?

Every county in North Carolina has its own procedure for filing emergency custody.  Generally speaking, an emergency custody request is made by filing a motion and a sworn statement of facts about the situation surrounding your desire for emergency custody of the child.

Common examples are that the minor child is being abused, sexually assaulted, harassed, or that a parent is threatening to leave North Carolina with the child.

The process for getting emergency custody is an “ex parte” proceeding.  Ex parte means that the judge will make a decision regarding the child custody without requiring all parties to be present or having notice the hearing will take place.

Judges are hesitant to grant emergency custody orders, but if a child is in a situation involving sexual or physical abuse, the court will take action to make sure the child is safe.

If an emergency custody order is granted, a hearing must be scheduled within 10 days so that both parties get a chance to be heard in front of the judge.

Emergency child custody can be a complex and difficult process to go through. Although the grounds are very limited, your situation might warrant filing for emergency custody.  Contact our experienced Raleigh family lawyer today to explore your options and make sure your children are safe.

Another great resource for seeking help with abuse is to contact a domestic violence hotline such as Interact of Wake County.  You can also seek help by asking the court for a Domestic Violence Protection Order.

Related resources: My Spouse Won’t Move Out, What Can I Do? Part Two: A Domestic Violence Protective Order What is a Domestic Violence Protective Order? 5 Things to Know About Third Party Custody