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Temporary Child Custody Orders

Jan. 22, 2020

As a parent, one of the most challenging ordeals you can be put through is a divorce and custody dispute. While a divorce is pending, parents often ask their attorneys “Can I get a temporary custody order? If so, how?”

Memphis family attorney Shannon A. Jones has more than two decades of experience advocating for families in Tennessee. He understands that the legal process can be confusing, and he’s committed to helping you understand your rights as a parent.

To learn more about temporary child custody orders, please read these helpful FAQs. To discuss your specific circumstances, call (901) 390-9041 or fill out a contact form to schedule a confidential consultation.

What is a Temporary Child Custody Order?

During a divorce, either party could file a motion for temporary orders and ask the judge to hold a temporary order hearing to grant emergency temporary custody of a child or children. It is important to note that this temporary order is just that – temporary. It will be replaced as soon as a final order is signed by the judge.

When are Temporary Child Custody Orders Necessary?

Temporary child custody is generally awarded in one of two types of situations: emergencies and non-emergencies. We’ll discuss both here:

Emergency Situations

If a parent feels that the child needs to be protected, they may request a temporary custody order. Common emergency situations include:

  • If the custodial parent is involved in an accident that requires extended hospitalization

  • Protecting the child from abuse or neglect

  • Removing the child from a harmful environment

  • Preventing the other parent from removing the child from the jurisdiction of this particular court

In a temporary child custody petition in an emergency situation, the petition could be made “ex parte.” This means that the other parent does not need to be provided notice of the petition or hearing, and they will be excluded from participating at all.

Because the other parent was not given the chance to argue or present evidence, a review hearing will be held within 15 days. At the hearing the other parent will be given the chance to present evidence and share their side of the story, and the judge will either terminate, modify, or continue the order.

Non-Emergency Situations

It is possible for one or both parents to request a temporary custody order even if no emergency exists. A temporary child custody order could be used to maintain or change the status quo until the court issues a final order.

In these situations, it’s not uncommon for the parents to agree on a temporary parenting plan and use the temporary child custody order as a way to establish decision-making and childcare. One parent might petition the judge to adopt the proposed temporary parenting plan, and the judge could choose to rule on it or not.

Why Would a Judge Choose Not to Rule on My Petition?

The judge in your case has the discretion of whether or not to rule on your petition. They often do so when the parents are not locked in a hostile dispute and waiting until trial would be better for all involved. The reasoning behind this is because temporary custody hearings can often take just as long as the actual custody trial, so when possible, the judge may choose to simply issue a permanent order after trial.

What Needs to Be Included in a Temporary Parenting Plan?

In Tennessee, any temporary parenting plan needs to comply with the provisions outlined for permanent parenting plans. This means it must align with the specific timeframe and should include a residential schedule.

What If My Proposed Parenting Plan Is the Only One Submitted?

If you’ve petitioned the court for a temporary child custody order and have included a proposed parenting plan as well as a verified statement of income, the court may choose to adopt it. This will only happen if the court determines that the plan does indeed meet the child’s best interests.

Why Do I Need an Attorney To Help Me?

Understanding your rights and legal options when it comes to temporary child custody orders can be challenging, particularly for people who’ve never been through this process before. To protect your interests and the best interests of your child or children, be sure to contact a family attorney with specific experience handling these types of cases in Tennessee.

Your attorney will be your advocate and will help you put together a petition for a temporary child custody order. They will also help you create a parenting plan, as well as represent you at any temporary custody hearings that are scheduled.

Contact a Child Custody Lawyer in Memphis

If you are going through a divorce that includes disputes over child custody, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced attorney right away. Family lawyer Shannon A. Jones has extensive experience representing parents in Memphis and the surrounding areas, and he is ready to put his knowledge and skills to work for you.

Creating parenting plans can be challenging and making sure that your children are protected during contentious divorce proceedings is likely one of your primary concerns. Turn to an experienced family lawyer for the qualified legal assistance that you need and deserve. To schedule a confidential consultation to discuss the specifics of your situation, contact Shannon Jones by calling (901) 390-9041 or by filling out a contact form right away.