In Defense of the Kids: Defending Against an Emergency Custody Petition

Thank you for joining me. My name is LaSheena Williams, and I am a Maryland family law attorney. My firm helps our clients take control of out-of-control domestic situations. Today we will be discussing emergency family petitions.

Proof of Service: Service Issues

If you are currently defending against an emergency custody petition in Maryland, there are a few things you can do to help your defense. The first thing you can do is determine if the service was effective in your case. Each jurisdiction has a different protocol for what counts as far as making sure the opposing party is effectively served and notified of the emergency petition. If your co-parent has failed to do that, if they have failed to meet those requirements, if they have failed to provide you with appropriate notice and you can show that to the court, you may have the emergency petition dismissed or you may request that their concerns regarding emergency custody be heard in the normal course as if it was a regular custody matter petition.

Burden of Proof: What are the criteria for emergency custody?

It is very important for you to understand that the petitioner here has the burden of proving that there, A, is an emergency and B, that their requested relief is the best course of action for your children. So, if your co-parent or even a third party seeking emergency custody fails to meet their burden then their request for an emergency petition will likely be denied it’s important that you keep this in mind and that you show that there is no emergency or that you indicate that they have failed to show that there is no emergency there is a difference and that as a result of their failure to show that there’s an emergency their request should be denied by the court.

Next Steps

If your co-parent or third party has sought emergency custody for your children, it’s important for you to understand what the next steps are in your case. Sometimes the court May order that that petition is heard in a normal course. Meaning, you might get a scheduling conference set in, or they may be required to serve you with their petition, that’s an option. Ultimately you could also file a counter complaint to modify custody or a counter complaint to enforce custody. It’s important for you to know what your next steps are so that you can know what to do. Typically, people who file for emergency custody, they’re not going to stop at being told no that their emergency request was denied. They’re going to continue and it’s important for you to acknowledge that and move forward accordingly so that you aren’t blindsided and that you can take the best course of action for your children.

If you have any questions about emergency family custody petition defense or any other issues regarding custody or emergency matters in Maryland, contact the Law Office of LaSheena M. Williams at (301) 778 – 9950 or leave an online request for a consultation.