How to File for Emergency Custody in Colorado 

If you have reason to believe your child is no longer safe with their other parent, it is imperative that you take legal action. Failure to do so could be considered negligent on your part. However, before you act in haste, it is important to remain calm and gather the evidence and proof of child endangerment you need to get your emergency custody petition approved in Colorado.

The court system will always make decisions that it believes are in the best interest of the children. Parents who have mental health problems, substance abuse issues, or become violent with their children may be at risk of having an emergency custody order taken out against them. Here is more about how you can file for emergency custody in Colorado and keep your child safe.

Valid Reasons to Request Emergency Custody

You must have just cause for requesting emergency custody, otherwise you could face sanctions of your own. Some valid reasons to request emergency custody include:

  • Failure to provide your child with food or water
  • Failure to ensure your child is practicing proper hygiene and sanitation
  • Leaving your child alone for an extended period of time
  • Failing to pick your child up from daycare or school

If you have concerns that your child’s parent is sexually or physically abusing them, engaging in drug or alcohol abuse, suffering from mental health problems, or committing domestic violence against or in front of your child, an emergency custody motion may be warranted.

Factual Evidence Must Be Provided to the Court

The Colorado statute on domestic abuse under CRS 14-10-129 states that there must be clear and convincing evidence that the child is in danger for the emergency custody motion to be granted. You need to introduce evidence that shows the child is in imminent danger for an emergency motion to be approved. If the child has suffered long-term neglect or abuse, you may need to seek an alternative approach and modify your existing child custody order.

Possible Outcomes After Filing an Emergency Custody Motion

If the court system finds your emergency custody concerns are legitimate, there are several potential outcomes that may occur. For example:

  • The child’s other parent could have their custody rights modified to supervised visitation
  • The child’s other parent could have their custody rights modified to reduced visitation
  • Your child’s other parent could have their physical or legal custody rights taken away

If you are found guilty of filing a frivolous emergency custody motion, you could face sanctions of your own, which might include being found in contempt of court.

How Long It Takes To Get Emergency Custody Motions Granted

Once an emergency custody motion has been filed, emergency restrictions will begin the same day. There will be a hearing within 24 hours, and within 14 days the Colorado family courts will hold a second hearing to determine whether the temporary emergency custody motion should be converted to a modified child custody order.

What to Expect After Your Emergency Custody Motion Is Granted

If your motion for emergency custody is granted, it will generally be a temporary emergency custody order. Later, you will need to attend a formal hearing that determines whether your child custody arrangement will be modified to a sole legal and physical custody plan. The temporary emergency custody order will end after the custody arrangements have been resolved in the formal hearing.