A Look at Emergency Custody: Montgomery County Edition

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 petitions for custody in Montgomery County Maryland.

What is emergency custody in Maryland?

Emergency custody is a request by a co-parent or a third party seeking an emergency custody order on behalf of a child or children.

Why file for emergency custody?

There are several reasons why you may want to file for emergency custody. If, for some reason, your children are in danger, for example, if your co-parent was arrested for a DUI and your children were in the car or if, for example, you’ve been notified that your co-parent is intending to fly your children out of the country and they’re refusing to tell you where they’re going or if, for example, your co-parent may have been arrested for some type of felony offense, those are perfectly good reasons to file for an emergency custody petition in Montgomery County, Maryland.

What is the process for filing in Montgomery County?

In Montgomery County, it’s important for you to understand how the filing process works. First, if you’re filing an emergency petition, you will prepare the petition and get it filed electronically on MDEC, which is the electronic filing system we have here in Maryland. You must make sure you notify the opposing party of when you intend to present that petition to the court. In Montgomery County, there is a family duty judge, so a family duty judge is there every day, it might be a different judge each day, but they are assigned to dealing with certain types of emergencies whether it’s petitions for protection, emergency custody requests, or issues that need immediate review by the court. You want to make sure that you can show that your co-parent was properly served and notified of when your hearing will be. It’s better if your hearing is not on the same day as you’re serving them because if they’re served and they don’t have any notice it might hold up the court hearing your hearing. You might want to set it a day or two out from when you’re expecting to get that person served, then you will have that hearing before the court and you’ll explain what the emergency is and why you’re requesting emergency relief.

Next steps

When filing for an emergency petition in Montgomery County, it’s important for you to understand what your next steps are. If your emergency petition is granted and you receive an emergency court order you must know that that court order is essentially temporary. You should still file for a custody modification or custody enforcement if that is an issue in your case because that order might not necessarily last forever it’s a Band-Aid. It’s a Band-Aid that the court has decided was necessary, but that Band-Aid isn’t going to hold off everything. So, you want to get a permanent order in place to make sure that you have the relief and the access and custody that your family needs. So, if you win your petition and you get a custody order awarded, you need to make sure that you’re filing to get a custody order entered that goes beyond just the temporary order that’s being in place. If you so happen to not prevail on your emergency custody petition, you will then need to file likely a modification request for custody or to establish custody sometimes the court may order that it be heard in a normal course, and they may set you in for a scheduling conference if you’ve already shown that the opposing party’s been served in your case.

If you have questions about filing for emergency custody in Montgomery County, Maryland, or any other jurisdiction in Maryland, contact the Law Office of LaSheena M. Williams at (301) 778 – 9950 or leave an online request for a consultation.