I get the call, at least, weekly. It is an EMERGENCY! I have to get into Court yesterday to solve some critical issue. However, once I start asking questions the emergency is more like an inconvenience.
For Court purposes, think of an emergency as being a true emergency; danger of life or limb, or the immediate threat of imminent and irreparable harm.
The Court judges emergencies on a case by case basis to make sure they have merit. Some examples of emergencies include;
- when the custodial parent refuses life saving medical treatment, against medical advice
- when one parent absconds with a child, it’s not “their” time and refuses all contact
- when a parent is using illegal drugs in the presence of the child and/or exposing the child to that lifestyle
- is abusing the child
- is neglecting the child
Some examples of non-emergencies, at least for Court purposes;
- is 15 minutes late for a pick-up or a drop-off, even multiple times
- stops paying the house mortgage
- forgot to give the recommended dose of antibiotics
- returns the child in the same clothes that he was dropped off in
- returns the child with a scratch or bruise caused by kids being kids
Emergencies are quite often judgment calls and the Judges treat these seriously when they are serious and are nonplussed when a lawyer files an Emergency Petition over a non-urgent circumstance. The Judges are also somewhat on guard against persons using ERs for tactical advantage and this can and does backfire on the petitioner if it is not a true emergency.
Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney in Mississippi and is careful on the draw about declaring emergencies.
Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer
You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@BowTieLawyer.ms