Emergency Custody Order
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Emergency Custody Order Attorney In Dallas

Key Takeaways:

  • Emergency custody orders are designed to take immediate action to protect the safety of a child.
  • You can file an emergency custody order if you feel that your child’s life or health is being put at risk by their current guardian.
  • Emergency custody orders are technically temporary injunctions, but they are immediately enforceable.
  • An attorney can help you through the legal process of filing an emergency custody petition.

Split conservatorship of a child can be stressful and burdensome, especially if you are concerned about the safety and well-being of your child while they are with the other parent. If you think your child is in real danger or faces a significant risk to their physical or mental health, it could be time to file an emergency order.

You should never take matters into your own hands when it comes to altering a custody arrangement. This can often backfire on you. Instead, you should file an emergency custody order. Filing an emergency order gets the backing of the law and courts on your side and helps make sure that your child has proper protection.

If you are in Dallas, Texas, and you wish to seek an emergency custody order or have your conservator rights altered by one, you should consider seeking legal advice and assistance regarding your rights and the next steps to take. The legal team at the Law Offices of Chris Schmiedeke, P.C. is ready to assist you with your custody issues. Call us at 214-949-4520 or use our online contact form to speak with a member of our legal team today.

Father carrying his son on a walk

What Qualifies for an Emergency Child Custody Order in Dallas, Texas?

An emergency custody order is a court-mandated order that is used to protect minors from perceived or real harm or abuse while in the care of a parent, grandparent, or other conservators. These orders require a legitimate fear of immediate danger or risk in an emergency situation. They can be issued for:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Child abandonment
  • Child neglect

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse can range from unwanted touching to child molestation, but it can also involve inappropriate speech that exposes your child to concepts for which they are not ready. If you think your child is being abused by your spouse or another party who has conservatorship over them, it is important to act quickly because it can result in lifelong trauma.

Physical Abuse or Family Violence

Physical abuse happens every day, and family violence cannot only result in lifelong trauma and injury, but it can also result in the death of the victim. If you think your child is in danger of or being exposed to domestic violence of any sort, you should immediately contact a Texas family law attorney and the authorities. File for an emergency custody order right away.

Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse or drug abuse can lead to all sorts of abuse and neglect. The alcoholic or addict in your family may not physically harm your child, but they might ignore their basic daily needs or berate and belittle them, which are also forms of abuse. It is important to remember that addicts care more about their next fix than they do about those around them. It is an illness, and the addict may be a victim of that illness, but they are also a danger to those in their lives, and your child’s safety must come first.

Child Abandonment

According to Texas Penal Code § 22.041, child abandonment refers to a situation where an adult leaves a child in any place without providing reasonable or necessary care under any circumstances where a reasonable adult would not do so. Specifically, this means an adult who has custody or control of a child under 15 years of age and intentionally leaves them in a place where they have an unreasonable risk of harm, or if they engage in conduct that places a child under 15 in imminent danger of bodily injury, death, or impairment.

Child Neglect

Child neglect is defined under Texas law as failure to meet a responsibility to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical care, protection, and supervision for a child to whom a parent or conservator is entrusted. Neglect is a form of abuse, and the law requires observable and material impairment or substantial risk for the civil statute to apply. This is partly why it is important to have help from a Texas family law attorney who can prove that an emergency situation exists.

What Evidence Is Needed to Show Immediate Danger?

In order to obtain an emergency custody order, you will need to prove that a legitimate fear or immediate danger exists. To that end, we will need to gather documents such as affidavits from witnesses, police reports, medical reports, and even text messages or social media postings.


Affidavits are sworn statements attesting to something. In this case, they will be sworn statements from you and any witnesses regarding the danger your child suffers from.

Police Reports

While police reports are generally inadmissible as evidence in court, their existence can show that authorities have been called to the location where the child is kept. It can help to support a case that the child is in immediate risk of harm or danger.

Medical Records and Photos

Medical records and photos of physical injuries provide some of the clearest evidence of abuse that you can offer in an emergency temporary custody application. They are difficult to contradict, and your attorney can help you obtain them if necessary.

Text Messages and Social Media

Text messages and social media are often used to demonstrate threats to others. Whether the text message is demeaning to the child, is abusive in nature, supports a case of addiction, or otherwise illustrates a risk to the welfare of the child, it can be an essential piece of evidence for an emergency custody order.

How Do You File for an Emergency Child Custody Order in Dallas?

Filing for emergency temporary custody can be done ex parte. This means that you can file the custody order in your child’s best interests and on their behalf. Your minor child is an interested outside party. To file for emergency custody, you must fill out a petition and attach an affidavit stating the reasons why you believe your child is in danger. You will also need to provide evidence of the danger.

Because emergency custody is a form of a protective order, filing for an emergency temporary custody order also means filing for a temporary restraining order. This TRO can provide extraordinary relief and lasts for 14 days or until a hearing can be set to reevaluate or determine a final order for permanent custody.

What Happens in an Emergency Custody Hearing in Dallas, Texas?

Father going on a walk with his son

The temporary orders hearing is where both parents will have a chance to present evidence and defend their rights to custody and conservatorship. It is very likely that the other parent will show up with an attorney at this hearing, which means you are best able to protect your position if you have an attorney of your own.

Having a child custody lawyer in your corner during the protective order hearing can help protect your rights and fight back against your ex, whose attorney will know how to use the law against you. Your attorney can build a solid case and give you the best shot at protecting your child’s health and well-being.

How Long Does a Temporary Custody Order Last in Dallas?

According to Texas family law under Texas Family Code Sec. 83.002, a temporary court order for emergency custody can last for 20 days. If the duration needs to exceed this length, you can petition the courts to extend it for another 20 days.

What Happens After the Temporary Custody Order Expires in Texas?

Also, according to Texas family law, the emergency custody order expires after 20 days. Upon the request of the applicant or if the court deems it necessary, the order may be extended for additional 20-day periods. Your family law and custody attorney can guide you through this process. At this time, you will have to defend your concerns about threats to your child’s health and well-being.

It is vital to have a Dallas family law attorney present during the process of an emergency custody order. This process requires solid evidence and can get quite contentious and complicated. An attorney can help you avoid making critical mistakes like making incriminating statements or presenting a lack of evidence.

Your Texas child custody lawyer can also protect you against allegations from your former spouse, especially if they have an attorney in their corner. Having an attorney of your own can help put your mind at ease. Legal issues are not easy to handle for everyday people, and the Texas legal system can be quite complex.

Why Clients Partner With The Law Offices of Chris Schmiedeke, P.C.

Clients have been partnering with the Law Offices of Chris Schmiedeke, P.C. for years, thanks to our extensive experience and communicative attorney-client relationships. We have worked on a wide variety of family law cases in the state of Texas, and we understand the importance of custom solutions for your unique case. Take a look at what some of our previous clients have had to say about our services regarding child custody, Texas divorce, and more.


“I had questions. Chris had all of the answers. He is very easy to talk to, and I am glad I picked him for initial consultation. I definitely recommend him, especially if you are confused about the process. It is bold to say, but I don’t think you will regret it.” — Liz J.

“I recently worked with this divorce law office and was impressed with the quality of their service. The lawyers were professional, knowledgeable, and compassionate, and they helped me navigate a difficult and emotional process with ease. They provided me with clear and honest advice, and I appreciated their attention to detail and willingness to answer all of my questions. I would highly recommend this law office to anyone going through a divorce or other family law matter.” — Bujeti E.

“Chris and his staff are true professionals. From the first contact, they made sure my case was handled with the utmost respect and care, and was resolved in a timely manner. I highly recommend this law firm. Very professional, organized, and kept me updated throughout the entire process of my case using text messages, email and phone calls daily and weekly. If you need a law firm that is going to put you first, this is the law firm. It doesn’t get any better than this!” — Anthony M.

Frequently Asked Questions about Child Custody

What Is a Temporary Custody Order in Dallas, Texas?

A temporary custody order in Dallas is a court order that determines custody of a child while a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship, or SAPCR, is in process. Until the suit is concluded, the temporary custody order is in place.

How Is a SAPCR Enforced in Texas?

A SAPCR can be enforced in a few different ways in Texas:

  • The violator can be held in contempt of court.
  • The violator’s driver’s license can be suspended.
  • Child support evaders can be publicly identified.
  • The violator may be unable to receive a passport.
  • Wages can be garnished or withheld.

How is an Emergency Custody Order Enforced in Dallas, Texas?

Emergency custody orders in Dallas are enforced by local law enforcement, though in some cases, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services will handle it.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Emergency Custody Order?

While there is no exact timeline for getting an emergency custody order, it does tend to move faster than normal custody orders through Texas courts. In some cases, it can be granted the same day it is filed, and it becomes effective and enforceable immediately.

Time Is of the Essence When Your Child Is in Danger

An emergency custody order is a vital tool to protect your child’s health and well-being. Child custody cases can get very complicated.

Our law firm handles divorce and family law cases all over the Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan area, from family courts to district courts, child support to child custody, and more, including applying for emergency custody orders. Our most important goal is to protect your rights and do what is best for your child. We are not a large, faceless law firm. We give our clients the personal service they need every step of the way. Contact the Law Offices of Chris Schmiedeke for your free consultation with no obligation and no disclaimer. Call us at 214-949-4520 or use our online contact form to speak with a member of our legal team today.

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