Maryland Emergency Child Custody or Guardianship

Maryland Emergency Child Custody or Guardianship

Family Law Lawyer Baltimore, MD

A Maryland Circuit Court will generally hear a motion for emergency child custody or guardianship. So it is extremely important to conduct this type of hearing based on relevant law and exigent circumstances. Emergency child custody or guardianship is related to a situation where the health and/or safety of a minor or vulnerable adult is in imminent danger. Courts do not grant emergency custody or guardianship where there are minimal issues such as one parent being late in dropping off, there is a disagreement about what summer camp should be attended or with whom a vulnerable adult should live. It is for situations where a minor or vulnerable adult is very sick and needs care, a child predator is in the presence of the minor(s) or physical violent abuse is likely to occur.

An emergency order is a temporary order which the court will put in place if it is found that an emergency situation exists.  Any order which is granted should be followed up with a Petition for custody or Petition to Modify a current custody order. In the event of vulnerable adult, a petition for guardianship. This way one can be sure to keep the process in motion to continue in helping to protect the health, safety, and welfare of a minor(s) or vulnerable adult.

At a hearing for emergency custody or guardianship, the court will only hear the issues which are related to the emergency. This means one cannot create the situation in order to get an expedited hearing on other minor issues.  One will need to provide evidence at the hearing to show there is an imminent emergency. Evidence can include the testimony of third parties such as family members, doctors, caseworkers, police or school officials.  In the event that the child or children are older he, she or they should not attend the hearing but should be available in the event the judge wishes to have a conversation with the minor(s). In the case of a vulnerable adult this is dependent on the health or mental state of the person to be protected.

Every situation is different, therefore, it is highly recommended to seek the advice of an attorney prior to filing such a motion. There are court rules and filing requirements, including that the other party or parties must be given 24 hours notice, unless the case falls under legal valid exceptions to this rule. Typically, the other party or parties must be served with a summons from the court clerk concerning the expedited hearing. If the minor(s) or vulnerable adult resides out of state the court will not be able to grant an emergency request filed in Maryland unless it has retained jurisdiction pursuant to a previous order. Even if the court grants the motion, the opposing party or parties may file exceptions or an appeal to a higher court. There are timelines related to filings which must be met in order for all facts to be considered. Failure to follow the rules of the court can result in the denial of an emergency motion.

Greenberg Law Offices