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Legal Information: Florida


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Laws current as of October 6, 2023

I fled to Florida with my children to escape domestic violence. Can I get temporary emergency custody of my child in Florida even if another state is the child's "home state"?

Under Florida law, if you have fled to Florida with your child, you can apply for temporary emergency custody if:

  • the child has been abandoned; 
  • it is necessary in an emergency to protect the child because the child, or a sibling or parent of the child, is subjected to or threatened with mistreatment or abuse; or
  • it is necessary in an emergency to protect the child because the child has been subjected to or is threatened with being subjected to sex-reassignment prescriptions or procedures.1 

If there is already a child custody order from another state or there is an ongoing custody case in another state, any temporary custody order issued by the Florida court would be valid for the period of time that the judge believes that it would take you to return to the original court to try to modify (change) the original order.2 

Getting temporary emergency custody can be difficult to do.  We strongly recommend that you get help from a lawyer if you are considering filing for temporary emergency custody. Go to FL Finding a Lawyer. For information on what state is the “home state,” please see Where can I file for child custody? (Which state has jurisdiction?)

1 F.S.A. § 61.517(1)
2 F.S.A. § 61.517(3)