If you believe you need an emergency hearing, find a highly experienced family law attorney right now. Those of us who have been long-time divorce lawyers tend to have multiple attorneys in our offices. Someone experienced is always available to talk or meet with you to determine (1) if you have an emergency situation, and (2) what can be done about it immediately.
Examples Of What Typically Qualifies As A Reason For An Emergency Hearing
Each jurisdiction defines what it believes an emergency is. Here are a few examples of what might qualify:
- Domestic violence
- Someone has been killed, or there is an attempt
- A violent crime has occurred
- A child has been abused, or abuse is attempted
- Someone is on drugs and it is causing a major crisis
There are plenty of other examples, but the reason these matters are called emergencies is because they truly cannot wait. There is also a far longer list of what is not an emergency, but that is for your highly experienced divorce attorney to explain.
How To Decide What Your Next Steps Should Be
Once it has been established that an emergency exists, the type of emergency dictates what your next step should be.For life or death emergencies, 911 is always the first call. That can also be true of major emergencies that are not immediately life or death.
For domestic violence cases, courts are accessible 24/7, 365 days per year. During non-working hours, commissioners in courthouses across the state can issue a protective order that is valid until the next court day. For example, a protective order granted on a Friday at 5 p.m., when the following Monday is a holiday, will extend until Tuesday, when you have to return to court.
If the emergency is outside the jurisdiction of the domestic violence statute, you will best be served with an emergency appointment to a highly experienced divorce attorney, who can guide you quickly into court. There, a magistrate or judge can decide whether you qualify for emergency relief. Emergency relief can be custodial, financial, or both. Remember, you will never know if you are eligible if you don’t discuss the issue with someone who does.