How to Get Temporary Custody

By Allison Dodge

A number of reasons can lead an adult to apply for temporary custody of a minor child. Often this occurs when parents separate or file for divorce. Other times relatives or family friends may attempt to get temporary custody to remove the child from an abusive, neglectful or dangerous home situation. If applying for short-term rights to a child, it's important to learn in advance how to get temporary custody.

Talk to an attorney. Find a family lawyer in your area that can assist you in navigating the process of filing for temporary custody and represent you in court in the event you need it. Ask any questions you may have about the process or your chances of being awarded temporary custody based on your own personal situation.

File a petition. Complete the court documents requesting temporary custody of the child, and file it with the clerk at your county courthouse. Explain why a temporary custody order is needed for the child and why the court should grant it to you. Separation, divorce, abuse and neglect are common reasons why a temporary custody order should be granted.

Attend the custody hearing. Receive notification in the mail from the court clerk as to the date and time of the temporary custody hearing. Attend court on this date to explain to the judge why a temporary custody order needs granting. Provide proof of any allegations you make regarding abuse or neglect as this can help sway the judge in granting you temporary custody of the child. Understand that the child's parent(s) will receive a copy of the petition in the mail and have the opportunity to address the judge during the hearing as well if they show up at the hearing. Wait until the end of the trial for the judge to make his decision on whether or not he approves your petition and awards you temporary custody of the child.

After the temporary hearing, the judge will set a hearing to determine permanent custody of the child. It's important that if you want to maintain having custody of the child, you follow through with submitting any requested paperwork and attending the permanent custody hearing.