Under current Massachusetts law, a judge may issue an emergency custody order changing the living arrangements of a child or awarding one party temporary custody if there is sufficient reason to believe that the child is at risk of bodily injury or sexual abuse, or there is substantial risk that the child may be removed from Massachusetts to evade the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts courts.
Under Massachusetts law, an emergency child custody order may be issued “ex parte,” meaning the order is issued in the absence of one of the parties.
A formal hearing on the issue of child custody must be held soon after the emergency custody order is issued, usually within 10 days, so that the other parent may have a chance to defend or otherwise oppose the order.
In situations where there are acts of domestic violence in which the court has authority to enter a domestic violence protective order, the court may also extend the order of protection to allocate child custody and parenting rights or otherwise limit contact between the abuser and a child.
Given the opportunity for exaggerated or false allegations to be made by a party to attempt to gain leverage in a custody dispute, judges are sometimes wary about issuing emergency custody orders in the absence of reliable information or other convincing evidence.
Therefore, if you have reason to believe that your child is in danger or may be unlawfully removed from the jurisdiction of the child’s home state, you should immediately consult with Renee Lazar, an experienced family law attorney who can offer you the best guidance and advice based on your unique circumstances.
Contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar either through telephone 978-844-4095 or email to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation to discuss your situation.