Handling Emergency Custody Cases in Family Court in Upstate South Carolina

Handling Emergency Custody Cases in Family Court

By M. J. Goodwin


By far, the most frequent emergency situations I see in Family Court are those involving children.  Children, especially young children, cannot care for themselves and are at the mercy of their parents’ behavior.  If the behavior is bad, to the point of posing a potential danger to the child, the Family Court has the power to grant an emergency hearing to address the issues that pertain to that particular situation.


Some situations that have risen to the level of emergencies are those involving:  abusive behavior toward a child, a parent’s drug or excessive alcohol use, a parent’s criminal activity, a parent’s inappropriate lover, a parent’s severe neglect of a child or situations involving domestic violence.  This list is not exhaustive.


In order to file for an emergency temporary custody hearing, the Plaintiff must file a motion for emergency temporary relief and a supporting affidavit, together with a summons, complaint and verification.  These documents are then reviewed by a Family Court Judge, who decides if enough evidence is present to warrant an emergency or expedited hearing.  An emergency hearing is held as quickly as possible and waives the normal five (5) day notice requirement for a Family Court temporary hearing.  An expedited hearing is heard more quickly than the normal four (4) weeks, but requires the five (5) day notice to be given.


Additional affidavits, up to eight (8) pages, are then submitted at the Emergency or Expedited Hearing, together with a sworn financial declaration and a proposed parenting plan.  The Court will address the emergency issue and may require a subsequent hearing to address the matter in more detail after a Guardian ad Litem has investigated the situation.


If you need in help in Family Court, contact me at:  mj@mjgoodwin.com or call 864-375-0909.  We can usually schedule a consult within a short period of time.



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