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Legal Information: Vermont


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December 13, 2019

Can I get temporary custody as a part of a relief from abuse order (restraining order) against the other parent?

Maybe.  If a judge believes that there is immediate danger of physical or emotional harm to children under 18, the judge court may award temporary custody of these minor children to the non-abusive parent or to other persons.1  Under the Vermont Abuse Prevention law, if you go to court and the court finds enough evidence of abuse, the judge must make a temporary order to protect you, your child or both, which may include:

1. a temporary award of parental rights and responsibilities (custody), or

2. an order which restricts parent-child contact in whatever way is necessary to protect you or your child, or both, from abuse.  This order could include conditions under which you may deny parent-child contact until going back to court.2

If the court finds that there is an immediate danger of physical abuse, an order of emergency relief may be granted requiring the abuser:

1. To refrain from abusing the victim, the children, or both, and
2. To refrain from abusing the victim’s personal liberty, the personal liberty of the children, or both.

For more information on relief from abuse orders and how to get one, see our VT Restraining Orders page.

1 VT ST T. 15 § 1104