Emergencies In Divorce Cases

West Palm Beach Divorce and Family Law Attorney

Family Court is the emergency room of the courthouse. Divorce cases are often fraught with emotional and highly charged situations that may need immediate court intervention in a dissolution of marriage case. Although many situations may seem to require emergency court assistance the court may not consider a particular matter as an emergency under Florida law.

Laypersons view emergencies different from lawyers and sometimes lawyers view emergencies different from the courts somewhat narrow definition of what is an emergency. Even definitions of what is emergency may differ from county to county in Florida.

If you have an emergency situation brewing it is important that you understand your rights under the law. You should seek counsel from an experienced attorney in divorce emergency matters. The law offices of West Palm Beach Divorce and Family Law Attorney Stephen J. Press has over four decades experience in divorce and family law matters and is fully prepared to bring your emergency to court.

Most family court emergencies involve allegations regarding children. The Palm Beach County Family Court has promulgated administrative orders governing divorce and family law matters including emergency situations. Pursuant to court administrative order, motions for emergency hearings will be denied unless there are sufficient allegations to establish that there is:

  1. An imminent risk of substantial harm to a minor child; or
  2. A child is about to be illegally removed from the court's jurisdiction (Palm Beach County)

The court specifically states that motions for the immediate payment of child support and/or alimony or for timesharing usually do not meet the standard for emergency relief.

Child Abuse and Emergency Hearings

If a child is being harmed or threatened with harm is possible to obtain an ex parte order (without hearing). The "true emergency" test must be applied in limited circumstances such as when a child is threatened with physical harm was about to be improperly removed from the state. Only where there is a true emergency found by the court in a sworn ex parte pleading may the court temporarily modify custody without affording prior notice to the opposing party. The court must determine if there is a real threat of imminent harm for emergency relief to be granted. Even if the court enters the ex parte order the court must subsequently schedule a hearing tool for the opposing party the opportunity to be heard.

To protect the safety of the minor child in an emergency situation, the court has the discretion to restrict or deny timesharing with the parent. The court also has the discretion to temporarily place the child with someone other than either parent to protect the child in an emergency situation.

Child Support

If a parent refuses to provide support for the child or cancels health insurance premiums an evidentiary hearing could possibly be expedited. However, the court may still require that the parties go to mediation before granting a temporary hearing even though the situation may have risen to an emergency.

Contact a West Palm Beach Divorce and Family Law Attorney

The Law Offices of West Palm Beach divorce and family law attorney, Stephen J. Press is highly experienced in emergency cases. We are dedicated to protecting your rights with professional excellence. Please contact us at 561-833-2772 or contact us online for free consultation.