How To Get Emergency Child Custody in Arizona

How To Get Emergency Child Custody In Arizona

You might need to request emergency child custody in Arizona (commonly called legal decision making) when a circumstance threatens your child(ren)’s well-being. There are specific sets of instructions you are required to follow in order to acquire emergency child custody in Arizona.

What’s an Emergency Child Custody Order?

An emergency child custody order or temporary order briefly awards one parent or the other parent sole legal and physical custody of the child(ren) in question.

The order grants power for legal decision making to the party or person who has physical custody for a restricted period of time until the court can fully hear the case. Usually, the court only proceeds with these orders in place when the child(ren) is facing possible significant or irreparable damage.

Do I Qualify for Emergency Custody?

Emergency custody isn’t easy to get since the burden of proof needs to be supported by the party or person who is requesting the temporary order. The odds of getting emergency custody orders are unusually low, and you should anticipate losing your motion.  A lot of judges will refuse the original ‘emergency’ motion for a custody order and alternatively schedule a normal hearing where each side can submit live testimony at the hearing and summarize their issues.

As a result, it is vital the petitioner provides evidence that is substantiated in order to record the situation to show it truly is an emergency. In this type of situation, the services of a family law attorney are priceless. When you file for temporary custody orders you shouldn’t take it lightly. Nevertheless, it is absolutely a valid alternative if you think the child(ren) are at risk of impending bodily harm or the safety, well-being, and health of them is in serious peril.

One other qualifying factor is you need to also be simultaneously filing a petition that will change the custody of the child(ren). For instance, a simultaneous parenting time modifying petition, documentation for divorce or modification in legal decision-making obligations. The documentation can be pending already, or it may be filed when you file the motion for temporary orders.

False Claim Penalties

Every filing to the courts is filed under penalty of perjury. Petitions made to the court are deemed very severe by the court. Superficial filings result in short shrift in the system if there’s not a legitimate emergency. It’s unacceptable to file a motion because you are mad or frustrated with the other parent. Certainly, the judge can find you in contempt and order you to pay the court fees including legal fees of the other party that has increased if the grounds for the petition ends up being unfounded or false.

How Long is Emergency Child Custody in Arizona?

If your motion is awarded, the temporary custody order only lasts until the court can schedule a longer hearing that will determine custody on a more long-term resolution.  While courts will typically host the next hearing inside of 30 days, and occasionally as fast as 2 weeks, depending on the court’s schedule. See Title 25-404 for more information.

Guidelines for Filing for An Emergency Child Custody Order In Arizona

In Arizona, there is a rule commonly called “Rule 48.” The rule states if two circumstances are met, emergency custody of a child(ren) can be awarded without the requirement of notifying the other party. The 2 rules are:

  1. There have been failed attempts at providing notice.
  2. The person requesting the emergency custody petition, or the child(ren) can be at risk of being harmed if notice is provided to the other party.

Temporary Filing Custody Steps

  1. Filling Out the Documentation

You can get the forms and guidelines to file them in Maricopa County here.

When reading the documents, it clearly explains why the order is required and explains why there is an emergency. You are required to make sure this situation is undoubtedly an emergency before moving forward – you need to include as much factual detail and evidence as possible. Throughout this process of gathering facts to confirm there is an emergency, the help of an attorney can vital.

The form needs to be signed and dated in the presence of a notary. This can be taken care of at the court.

  1. Make Copies of the Documents

In the end, you’ll have 4 copies of the documents. The original that that is yours and 3 copies that you give to the Clerk of the Court subsequent to you filing.

  1. Filing the Documents at the Court

Take the copies of your documents to the Clerk of the Court. Utilize this website to learn where your documents need to be filed or if you have further questions concerning the process.

What Happens in A Hearing for Emergency Custody?

The court will typically schedule the first hearing with little delay – usually without the other parent being there. You’ll have to present the evidence you have gathered and submit it under penalty of perjury. Examples of evidence include:

  • Sworn statements
  • Photos
  • Medical Records
  • Testimonies from agencies like CPS
  • Statements made by the child(ren) or parent

The judge will need to determine if there is enough evidence and if there is, an emergency order will be ordered. The order stands until a secondary hearing where the other party can present evidence that counters the claims made against your evidence. This timeframe differs from court to court depending on the court’s schedule.



  1. “How Do I Get Emergency Custody In Arizona?” Arizona Legal Center, 5 Nov. 2018,
  2. Canterbury Law Group, and Canterbury Law Group. “How To Get Emergency Child Custody In Arizona – CLG.” Canterbury Law Group, 30 July 2019,

A knowledgeable child custody lawyer will help you understand your options and rights, draw up your custody request, and be your representation in court. They may also be able to deal with the other parent, avoiding longer litigation.

Speak With Our Child Custody Attorney In Scottsdale

Our child custody and guardianship attorney in Phoenix and Scottsdale will advance your case with concern and personal attention and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions.

An experienced family law attorney will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. We advocate for our clients, so they have the brightest future possible. Give us a call today at 480-999-0800 for a free consultation.


Jennifer Moshier Collaborative Divorce Lawyer Scottsdale Arizona
Jennifer Moshier, Scottsdale Divorce Lawyer


Recent Posts



Finding the right mediator can be difficult.


Divorce and Family Law

When a case demands litigation, you’ll have the benefit of 19 years of litigation experience in California and Arizona. But when a case demands collaborative law, or mediation, we can meaningfully describe why collaborative law or mediation may or may not be your best option.

Moshier Law services all of Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona. Jennifer and her team of professionals seek to resolve Family Law cases efficiently with your goals in mind.

Jennifer Moshier, Scottsdale Divorce Lawyer

Trail Potter  –  Divorce  Lawyer

Moshier Law - Phoenix Divorce, DCS and CPS, Custody, Estate Planning, Probate, and Adoption Lawyers