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How To File Forms For Temporary Child Custody

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Most lawsuits require several years before a verdict is reached. However, the timeline can be different in divorce cases. This is certainly true when it comes to child custody. Children cannot be kept in suspense for months or years while a divorce case is finalized. Accordingly, it is possible to file for temporary child custody.

When to Ask for a Temporary Child Custody Order

If one parent feels that the other is unfit to care for the children, it may be necessary to file for a temporary order. Sometimes parents will file for temporary custody even when both parents are willing and able to care for the children. The temporary order helps define who will care for the children and can help prevent conflicts about the children’s immediate future.

Does a Temporary Child Custody Order Have to Come from a Court?

Spouses who are separating but have an amicable relationship may be able to write down the terms of a temporary custody agreement without having a hearing before a judge. Each parent may have the assistance of an attorney in drafting the agreement, which would be in force until more permanent arrangements are made through the finalized divorce paperwork. Alternatively, parents can have a formal hearing before a judge to have a temporary custody order put in place.

How to File for a Temporary Order

In some jurisdictions, forms are available which make it simple to request a temporary order. The court’s website can be a valuable resource for finding these forms. Many courts also have some kind of family law support center where forms and assistance with completing them can be obtained. These forms are frequently called an Order to Show Cause. Included in the order is a requirement for the other parent to attend court on a certain date and to be prepared to argue why your temporary order request should not be granted. Some jurisdictions may also require filing a supporting declaration that plainly identifies your reasons for requesting custody. Other individuals who are familiar with your situation may also prepare a declaration. File all of the appropriate paperwork with the court. This should include a proof of service document which declares that you have served a copy of the papers on the other parent. Finally, you and the other parent are required to attend a hearing before the judge, usually within a few days or weeks.


This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. The Law Dictionary is not a law firm, and this page does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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