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Scottsdale Attorney for Emergency Visitation & Custody

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Scottsdale Emergency Visitation & Custody Lawyer

Experienced Arizona Family Lawyer Handles Emergency Visitation Matters in Scottsdale and Phoenix, AZ

Everyone hopes that the aftermath of divorce or separation will be relatively smooth when children are involved. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. For a variety of reasons, children may be in danger because of their living situations. Courts in Arizona allow the other parent or relative to obtain emergency visitation in Scottsdale for a child determined to be in danger. Such orders are valid right away and do not require the other parent to be notified.

At our law firm, knowledgeable divorce and family law attorney Karen A. Schoenau helps clients obtain emergency custody or visitation orders. With more than 30 years of experience handling a wide range of family law matters throughout Arizona, especially post-decree modifications, Attorney Schoenau knows the relevant laws and the process for obtaining emergency custody or visitation. It is important to have this level of experience on your side when seeking protection for your child.

The Process for Scottsdale Emergency Custody Orders

To obtain an emergency order, a parent must file a petition for emergency visitation or custody in Scottsdale. The petition should include proof of why you believe the child is in danger. You must also file at the same time (if you have not already filed) a request to modify the custody and visitation order. Typical reasons for emergency filings are physical abuse, excessive alcohol consumption, leaving a very small child alone, or use of illegal substances. You must show that notification of the other parent could result in harm to the child. Merely stating that the child’s situation is dangerous will seldom result in an award of emergency custody or visitation.

Proof of the immediate danger can include phone calls, messages, texts, school reports, and other independent statements that document the dangerous circumstances. Once you have filed the petition and accompanying evidence, you must wait for a judge to review it. Once the judge grants your request, the court will schedule a hearing on your request for a modification, at which time the other parent can mount a defense. Your emergency order is only good until the hearing, at which point the judge may enter permanent orders if the court agrees with your request for a permanent change to custody or visitation.

Proceed with Caution: Talk to a Family Lawyer Before Seeking an Emergency Custody Order

Parents must proceed with caution in these matters. The emergency must be documented and imminent. The court will not grant temporary custody just because you do not like your former spouse’s romantic partner or your ex was late delivering the child for scheduled visitation. In fact, if the court finds that your emergency visitation request in Scottsdale was not based on a real emergency, you could be found in contempt of court and be required to pay fines. It may also harm your credibility in future legal proceedings related to your child. These are reasons why you should consult an experienced Arizona family lawyer who can help you draft a successful petition for emergency custody or visitation.

Penalties for False Claims

When a parent feels that their child is in an unsafe situation, they’ll sometimes do anything they can to ensure their son or daughter is protected. That may end up being a big mistake if it steers that parent away from telling the truth of the matter. Embellishing, exaggerating, or just making things up in order to get an emergency custody order can backfire.

If the court finds that you are lying about your child’s safety, it is likely that penalties will follow. Listed below are some of the penalties one can expect if they make false reports about their child’s other parent and the safety of the child they share:

  • The reporting party could be found in contempt of court
  • The court could order the reporting parent to pay fines to the court
  • The parent may be required to pay fines to the other parent
  • Sanctions could be imposed

Wrongful filing of a motion can land you in a lot of trouble. So, it is best to always stick to the facts. If there is danger in the future, you want to court to believe what you say, and a prior false report will create a bias. Nothing is worse than not being believed, especially when your child is involved, so tell the truth so that your word is above questioning.

Presenting information that is false, even if done with the intention of offering the child protection, could hurt the child in the long run. The truth is always best in these cases, and you do not want to be seen as “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” especially when the child at the heart of the matter could be endangered because of it.

How a Lawyer Can Help

When you suspect that your child or a child who you love, such as a grandchild, niece, or nephew, is in a harmful situation, it is imperative that you call an attorney for help. By immediately seeking legal counsel, you may be able to protect the child with an emergency custody petition.

Your attorney will understand the appropriate procedures for ensuring the child’s safety. The goal when a child is in danger is to get them out of the unsafe home and into one that will protect them as soon as possible. Having an attorney at your side can be especially helpful in speeding up the process by knowing exactly what needs to happen each step of the way.

Your attorney will advise you on the following:

  • How to file the petition
  • Investigating the case
  • Gathering evidence that the child needs to be removed from the home

Since attorneys have been through this far more often than a parent or loved one of a child ever will, they have seen what is effective when brought before the court. This experience and knowledge will inform your decisions about what you need to do to best protect the child or children you care about.

To best protect the child in question, you need to understand the filing process and how to best show compelling truth to the court through the gathering of concrete evidence. A qualified lawyer with experience with these cases and the legal acumen to proceed with yours is your best chance to successfully ensure the child’s safety is secured.


If your child is in danger, it is important to make your emergency petition as strong as possible. Call Scottsdale family lawyer Karen Schoenau at the Law Office of Karen A. Schoenau at (480) 725-1438. You may also contact us online.

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