How to File for Emergency Custody in Arkansas

How to File for Emergency Custody in Arkansas

When it comes to the well-being of a child, ensuring their safety and security is of utmost importance. In situations where a child’s immediate safety is at risk, filing for emergency custody can provide a temporary solution to protect the child until a more permanent custody arrangement can be established. If you find yourself in such a situation in Arkansas, here is a step-by-step guide on how to file for emergency custody:

Step 1: Gather evidence
Before filing for emergency custody, it is crucial to gather evidence that supports your claim that the child is in immediate danger or at risk. This evidence could include police reports, medical records, photographs, or witness statements.

Step 2: Complete the necessary forms
In Arkansas, the first step to filing for emergency custody is to complete the necessary forms. These forms can usually be found on the Arkansas court’s website or obtained from the clerk’s office in the family court where the case will be heard. The forms typically include a petition for emergency custody and an affidavit.

Step 3: File the forms
Once you have completed the required forms, you must file them with the clerk’s office in the appropriate family court. There may be filing fees associated with this process, so it is essential to inquire about the costs beforehand.

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Step 4: Serve the other party
After filing the forms, you must serve the other party, usually the child’s other parent or guardian, with a copy of the filed documents. This can be done by certified mail, private process server, or through law enforcement.

Step 5: Attend the hearing
Once the other party has been served, a hearing will be scheduled. During this hearing, both parties will have the opportunity to present their case and provide evidence supporting their claims. It is crucial to be well-prepared and organized for the hearing to increase your chances of success.

Step 6: Await the judge’s decision
After the hearing, the judge will determine whether emergency custody is warranted based on the evidence presented. If the judge grants emergency custody, a temporary custody order will be issued, outlining the terms and conditions of the custody arrangement until a final decision is reached.


1. Can anyone file for emergency custody in Arkansas?
To file for emergency custody, you must have a legitimate reason to believe that the child is in immediate danger or at risk. Typically, this would include parents, guardians, or other individuals with a close relationship to the child.

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2. What qualifies as an emergency situation?
Emergency situations may include instances of abuse, neglect, domestic violence, substance abuse, or any other circumstances that pose an immediate threat to the child’s well-being.

3. How quickly can emergency custody be obtained?
The timeline for obtaining emergency custody varies depending on the circumstances and the court’s schedule. However, if the situation is genuinely urgent, courts in Arkansas may expedite the process.

4. Will I automatically be granted custody if I file for an emergency order?
No, the judge will carefully consider the evidence presented by both parties before making a decision. It is essential to provide compelling evidence that demonstrates the immediate danger or risk to the child.

5. What happens after emergency custody is granted?
After emergency custody is granted, a temporary custody order will be in place until a final custody determination is made. This temporary order will outline the terms and conditions of the custody arrangement, such as visitation rights and child support obligations.

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6. Can emergency custody be overturned?
Yes, emergency custody orders can be overturned if new evidence is presented or if the circumstances change.

7. How long does emergency custody last?
Emergency custody orders are temporary and remain in effect until a final custody determination is made. The length of time can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the court’s schedule.

8. Can I file for emergency custody without an attorney?
While it is possible to file for emergency custody without an attorney, it is highly recommended to seek legal advice to navigate the complexities of family law and ensure the best possible outcome for the child.

9. Can I modify an emergency custody order?
Yes, emergency custody orders can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances or new evidence becomes available. This requires filing a motion to modify the custody order and presenting the updated evidence to the court.

In conclusion, filing for emergency custody in Arkansas is a complex process that requires careful preparation and presentation of evidence. It is essential to prioritize the child’s safety and well-being throughout the process and seek legal guidance to ensure the best possible outcome.