When your child’s health and safety are in danger, there can be little time to lose. Louisiana allows parents to seek an emergency child custody order that lasts for up to 45 days and can keep a child away from an abusive parent until more permanent arrangements can be made.

One of the big differences between an emergency order and a permanent child custody order is that the court will allow an ex parte hearing on an emergency order petition. Ex parte is a legal term that means only one party is before the judge. Usually, the judge wants both the petitioner and the respondent to be in court to each give their side of the story. But Louisiana law makes an exception in cases where a child could suffer “immediate and irreparable injury” while awaiting the other parent’s response.

When will the judge grant an emergency custody request?

Grounds for granting an emergency custody order include:

  • Physical, sexual and emotional abuse of the child
  • Neglecting the child, such as failing to feed them or letting them live in unsanitary conditions
  • Illegal drug use in the home
  • A sex offender is present in the home

If the judge approves, the initial order will last 30 days, though the judge can order a one-time extension of 15 days. The petitioner will get sole custody during that time, with visitation time of at least 48 hours every 15 days for the other parent. However, the visitation rights can be canceled if the petitioning parent can show that the child would be in danger of immediate and irreparable harm.

When a parent requests an ex parte order, they generally must still inform their co-parent to give them the chance to respond. This notice will include the date and time of the scheduled hearing. If you get a phone call or text message informing you about an emergency child custody order, do not ignore it.

Your lawyer will fight for your parental rights

Whether you need to rescue your child from an abusive parent, or if your co-parent is falsely accusing you of being unfit, a family law attorney can represent you at the hearing and argue your case.