Emergency Child Pick-Up Orders Can Offer Parents a Method to Enforce Custody Orders

Child custodyWhen can you ask the Court for an emergency child pick-up order? If your ex-spouse or, if you have not been married, the other parent takes your child for timesharing and does not return the child, what can you do?  What are your options if the child is taken out of the State of Florida?

What is an emergency pick-up order?  An emergency pick-up order is an order signed by the Court that directs the sheriff or other law enforcement officer to take a child from the person who has physical possession of your child and deliver the child to your custody.  The process is started by filing an Emergency Verified Motion for Child Pick-Up Order.  You must attach a certified birth certificate if you are the birth mother of a child born out of wedlock and no court order of paternity exists.  If you have a judgment establishing paternity or a court order showing you have legal custody, you attach a certified copy to your motion.

Compliance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is a must to ensure that Florida has jurisdiction.  See Fla. Stat. 61.514.  Florida must be the child’s home state within 6 months before the commencement of the proceeding.  The conditions in 61.514 specifically indicate under what circumstances the Court can take jurisdiction.

In Perez v. Giledes, 912 So.2d 32 (4th DCA 2005), the Court ruled that Florida could take jurisdiction to grant a mother an emergency child pick-up order allowing her to retrieve an out of wedlock child living with the father in Georgia.  The mother was a Florida resident when the child was born, the child was born in Florida, and the mother returned to Florida after living in Georgia for a year or more between the birth of the child and the time of the order being entered.  The father argued that the child had lived in Georgia for over 6 months because he had moved with the child and concealed his address.  The mother had ties to Florida unlike a parent who had never lived in Florida until recently.

Navigating the rules and law surrounding jurisdiction and emergency pick-up orders can be complicated.  You need an experienced Jacksonville family law attorney to assist you.  Contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman for a consultation.

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