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Emergency Custody Orders


Divorce is one of the most stressful events that a person can live through. The upheaval of a person’s life is a serious matter – and not one that everyone handles well.

Local news anchor Frank Somerville has been making headlines lately as his life has fallen into a series of unfortunate events. As reported by the Daily Mail, the t.v. personality (whose career on television spans 40 years) was not picked up by the station to continue his contract. Within a matter of months, his wife filed for divorce, he was arrested multiple times on various charges, to include domestic violence, and is currently awaiting arraignment.

It is hard to say what came first, the chicken or the egg, in Mr. Somerville’s situation. But it is human nature that everyone handles stress differently and everyone can be overwhelmed by a stressful situation. Those parents who are headed into divorce should keep in mind that the stress of the divorce could affect their co-parent. If something happens and you need to seek emergency custody of your child – how do you accomplish that? This article aims to answer some of these questions.

Please bear in mind – thousands of parents go through divorces every year and the vast majority of them never involve the need to seek an emergency custody order. However, you never know how someone is going to react to the upheaval of their normal life. As a parent pursues their divorce and child custody journey, it is just good sense to know what court protections and procedures are in place in case you ever do decide that you need to pursue an emergency order of custody from the court.

Grounds for Emergency Custody Order

As always, the court will only grant this emergency protection if it concludes that it is in the best interest of the child. The court may grant a petition for an emergency custody order in California if there is evidence of:

  • Domestic violence
  • Child abuse, or neglect
  • Parental arrest for substance abuse, DUI, etc
  • Sex offender is in the home
  • A parent’s physical or mental health preventing them from serving the child’s best interest while in their care

 Process for Obtaining Emergency Custody Order

Parents seeking to obtain an emergency custody order must request a hearing with the court and provide evidence of the emergency. To grant the petition, you must present evidence to the court that the child might come to immediate harm if the emergency order is not granted.

The fastest way to obtain help in an emergency situation is always going to be calling 911. If you or your child are in immediate danger you should consider contacting emergency services, if you can safely do so. Cases of domestic violence and child abuse are often supported by documenting the abuse through emergency services. Contacting them puts the incident on record.

Contact Cardwell, Steigerwald Young

The courts and legal processes truly exist in order to build a society that serves the people. When you are in a dire or emergency situation and need to seek emergency custody of your children, contact the experienced San Francisco child custody lawyers at Cardwell, Steigerwald Young. Our attorneys understand the system and can help you determine next steps, and how to navigate this difficult time in your family.


Disgraced San Francisco TV anchor Frank Somerville’s life fell apart amid divorce | Daily Mail Online

Ask for an emergency (ex parte) order | California Courts | Self Help Guide

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