How to Get Temporary Custody of a Child

Temporary custody establishes a vital first move in achieving permanent custody.

At all stages of the custody battle, remember that judges, clerks, mediators, and courts make decisions based on the best interests of the child.

The parent awarded temporary custody typically becomes the parent that enjoys permanent care for the foreseeable future.

Who Can Get Temporary Custody of a Child?

You don’t have to be a parent to gain temporary custody of the child.

There are numerous viable options to act as a temporary custodian—immediate family, extended family, grandparents, and godparents are all common temporary guardians.

Trusted friends and neighbors are an option, as well. It’s best to choose someone with whom both parents have a solid relationship, as trust is paramount.

Why Should You Seek Temporary Custody of a Child?

There are a few viable situations where good reasons for temporary custody win the case.

If you provide enough reason to be awarded temporary custody of a child, you benefit in many ways from continued proceedings. The early stages of separating or filing for divorce can provide enough reason to establish a temporary custodian, for example.

Another effective way to sway the court is to remove the child from an abusive, negligent, or unfit parent situation.

Information to Include for Temporary Custody of a Child

Do not expect the courts or an attorney to make plans for you or your child.

The more firmly you take the reins, the better. You will want to iron out the specifics and have it all in writing.

You’ll want to cover the entire period for temporary custody, detailing the beginning and end dates of custody, for example.

Include specific locations (addresses, cities, and states) and visitation rights—the more detail, the better.

Who is allowed to see the child? When? Under what conditions?

Financial arrangements are also valuable. Is money changing hands? How much and from whom?

Lastly, providing general information about the child’s needs is always useful, like unique medical needs or important upcoming events.

Steps to Achieving Temporary Custody of a Child

Here’s what the court process looks like in FIVE STEPS—from applying for temporary custody to achieving permanent custody.

Step 1: Seek Counsel

Laws vary by state, so seek counsel with a qualified family lawyer who practices in the area.

Step 2: File a Petition

Formally request temporary custody by filing in a petition.

It goes to your county clerk’s office. Here, you’ll provide a sound case (as reviewed by a qualified attorney) as to why you should be awarded temporary custody.

If you are not the biological parent of the child, know that the parents will receive a copy of your filed petition.

Step 3: Plan to Follow Through

Throughout the process, stay on top of all your paperwork.

Attend every hearing and stage of the process without fail.

Step 4: Temporary Custody Hearing

Once filed, there will come a custody hearing.

Attend the date, time, and place as notified by the court. Dress business-professional and stay composed and collected.

You must make a good impression as a responsible parent who is acting solely in the best interest of the child.

Make your case before the judge for why you need to be granted temporary custody. Any mention of abuse or neglect must be backed by sound evidence. Without proof of your claims, true or not, it carries no weight in court.

Step 5. Verdict and Permanent Custody

Once you’ve made your argument, exercise patience. The judge will make his decision at the end of the trial.  A future hearing will determine permanent custody.

Temporary Custody is a significant first step in the process for permanent guardianship. Be prepared and remain calm throughout the proceedings.