Emergency child custody occurs when the courts step in to ensure that a child is cared for in the event of danger, explains Lawyers.com. This danger can take many forms such as kidnapping by a parent, abuse, neglect or if a parent becomes incapacitated.
In most cases, the county court where the child lives has jurisdiction over this action, according to Lawyers.com. In order to start the process, the incident must be reported to the court, and an emergency hearing may be necessary. Typically, the child is placed in a home on a short-term basis based on the judge's decision. The only exception is if a parent or parents have designated a standby guardian, which some states allow. Within a very short time following the emergency-custody designation, a hearing is held to hear all sides of the story, if necessary.
Any adult can report to a courthouse and ask for emergency child custody, as explained by Lawyers.com. In most cases, however, the assistance of a lawyer is necessary as removing a child from the care of their parents is complicated. Even if another adult is granted emergency custody, the courts work with the parent to bring the child back into the home.