Can I get an emergency ex parte custody order when I file my custody petition?
Possibly. Anyone who is filing for custody of a minor child can ask the court to issue an emergency ex parte order of custody when s/he believes there is an immediate and present risk of physical danger or psychological harm to the child.1 An order that is issued ex parte means that it is issued without prior notice to the other parent, based only on your affidavit/testimony. If the judge issues an emergency ex parte order, the judge will schedule a hearing within 14 days2 and the respondent but be served at least 5 days before that hearing.3 At the hearing, the other parent can object to the ex parte order continuing and it will be up to the judge to decide whether or not to continue the order.
If the judge decides not to issue an ex parte order immediately, the judge must still schedule a hearing on the matter although it may not necessarily be within 14 days.3 If at any time before or after the hearing, the judge believes that an immediate and present risk of physical danger or psychological harm to the child exists, the judge has the power to issue an emergency ex parte order for the protection of the child (and the judge can inform the Department of Children and Families of any relevant information in your affidavit for their possible investigation). The emergency order can provide temporary child custody or visitation rights and can order the respondent-parent to not: (1) remove the child from the state; (2) interfere with the applicant’s custody of the child; (3) interfere with the child’s educational program; or (4) take any other specific action that is in the best interests of the child.2
1 C.G.S.A § 46b-56f(a)
2 C.G.S.A § 46b-56f(c)
3 C.G.S.A § 46b-56f(d)