Judge pounding gavelThis is the next post in my series on how to file an emergency Motion with the Las Vegas Family Court. My last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It also stressed the need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible if you believe your son or daughter is in an unsafe situation. It is important that you contact counsel immediately as waiting to do so can result in the Court believing that the matter is not urgent. In this article I will discuss the process involved with filing an emergency Motion. If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a child custody lawyer.

Motions can be filed with a request for “shortened time” in emergency situations

The first step in requesting a change of child custody is to file a Motion with the Court. This is a formal document in which the requesting party will state the reason for the proposed change, as well as what they would like the new custody arrangement to be. The Motion will also discuss the law which supports the request and will provide evidence, in the form of exhibits, which support the requesting party’s claims. A hearing date, typically four to eight weeks away, will be assigned at the time the Motion is filed. In typical, non-emergency situations, the opposing party will have ten Court days to file their opposition brief.

The aforementioned schedule can be accelerated in emergency situations. If the matter is urgent then an Application for “shortened time” can be filed concurrently with the Motion. This  Application will be filed Ex-Parte and a copy will be delivered to the Judge’s chambers along with an Order moving up the hearing on the Motion to Change Custody. If the situation is truly urgent then the Court will typically schedule the hearing for within a few days. The Order for Shortened Time, along with a copy of the initial Motion, will need to be personally served on the responding party. Given the short amount of time in between the filing of the Motion, and the hearing, a responding brief will typically not be filed by the opposing party.

Las Vegas Family Court judges will hold a hearing to determine if child custody should be changed

The initial hearing on the Motion to Change Custody will consist of a brief oral argument from the attorneys for each side. Witnesses will not testify. If the Court does find the matter to be an emergency then a temporary change of custody will typically be granted. It is important to understand, however, that there are multiple potential outcomes at an initial hearing. First, the Court can deny the request altogether. This would result in the current custody order remaining in place. Second, the Court can make a temporary change in child custody and set a trial date to determine if the change should be made permanent. A third option would be for the Court to leave the current situation in place, but set a trial date in order to determine whether a change should be granted. This third option would be unlikely in emergency situations as the Court will not wish to leave the child in a dangerous environment.

If you believe your son or daughter is in imminent danger then it is important that you contact law enforcement as soon as possible. The next step is to contact an attorney so that you may file a request to modify custody with the Court. I devote my practice to the handling of family law and my office recognizes that this is a serious time in your life. Contact us online or by telephone today to speak with a Las Vegas child custody lawyer.