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Brentwood Divorce Attorneys > Blog > Child Custody > Important Things To Know About Emergency Custody In Middle Tennessee

Important Things To Know About Emergency Custody In Middle Tennessee


If you believe your child is being neglected, is in danger, or lives in an environment that is harmful to them, your main priority is likely getting them the protection they need. You likely want to act quickly and you should, particularly if you are pursuing emergency child custody. Below, one of our Middle Tennessee child custody attorneys outlines the grounds for emergency orders and the process to follow.

The Emergency Custody Process in Middle Tennessee 

When a child needs protection, either parent can file for emergency custody. The process is “ex parte,” meaning the other parent is not given notice of the hearing or petition and so, they do not have the chance to tell their side of the story.

However, if you are petitioning for emergency custody, you must show strong evidence that the other parent is unfit. You should also have a temporary parenting plan that outlines how you will care for the child and meet their educational, health care, and socialization needs. If you believe the child has been traumatized, you should also include therapy for them within your plan. Having a plan in place will show that you have given this care serious thought and that you are prepared to be responsible for the child.

The court must review the emergency order within 15 days and if the temporary order is granted, temporary custody will be awarded until a formal court order is issued. At this time, the other parent will have the opportunity to tell their side of the story and can present evidence to show why they should retain custody of the child.

How Does Tennessee Law Define an Unfit Parent 

Before a court will grant a custody change in an emergency situation, a judge must determine that one parent is unfit. They can determine that a parent is temporarily or permanently unfit. Some of the scenarios that can deem a parent to be unfit include:

  • The custodial parent has abandoned the child.
  • The custodial parent has physically, emotionally, or sexually abused the child.
  • The custodial parent has neglected to provide the basic needs for the child, and this has been harmful to their daily life.
  • The custodial parent cannot properly care for and raise the child due to alcohol or drugs.
  • The custodial parent has been convicted of a sexual offense or another crime that prohibits them from caring for the child, such as if they have to serve jail time.

Our Child Custody Attorneys in Middle Tennessee Can Help You Through the Emergency Process

 It is sometimes challenging to understand your legal rights and obligations as a parent. If you think your child is living in an unsafe environment, our Middle Tennessee child custody attorneys at Beal, Nations & Crutcher can help you through the process so you have the best chance of obtaining the best outcome. Call us now at 615-861-2304 or reach out to us online to schedule a meeting with one of our skilled attorneys and to learn more.



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