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Springfield Divorce Attorneys > Blog > Child Custody > Child Order of Protection

Child Order of Protection


Are you concerned about the welfare of your child, when spending time with a former spouse? In Missouri, laws are on the books to provide temporary protective custody for minor children in certain situations. It may be that the situation that is causing you angst could fit the bill.

Emergency Custody

To be clear, emergency situations may lead to temporary custody.  (Permanent custody is a much more extensive procedure). Emergency temporary protective custody provides a quick, short-term solution when children experience neglect or abuse. Generally, government officials and/or police take the children out of the dangerous setting during such emergencies. The child may be placed with the child’s other parent, placed in foster care or a medical facility, depending on the situation. In cases where a willing family member is available, they may receive temporary custody.

What Constitutes an Emergency? 

When an adult in the household intentionally inflicts physical, emotional, or sexual abuse on children, it is reason to seek an emergency intervention.  Likewise, severe neglect that puts children at risk should be investigated and addressed appropriately. Any petition for emergency custody must necessarily be very specific as to the abuse or neglect in question. Documentation might include the following:

  • Photographs;
  • School attendance records;
  • Police reports;
  • Documentation of arrest history;
  • Medical records;
  • Supporting documentation from Child Protective Services.

How Does it Work? 

In most cases, these placements may occur with no court order whatsoever, although a court order is necessary within 24 hours. When the court does issue a protection order, neither party may address the claim until a hearing or continuance is granted. If neither occurs within 15 days, the order expires. If a Full Order of Protection is granted by the court, it will last for up to 180 days, with the potential for renewal twice.

A protective order may include a restraining order and may utilize the services of a guardian ad litem. It may result in new custody determinations, create a new visitation schedule, and more. In some situations, the respondent could be required to attend counseling, to pay costs associated with housing and maintenance, and to pay rehabilitative costs for the children impacted by the abuse/neglect, as well as court costs and attorney’s fees. Each circumstance is evaluated on its own merits, and the court responds based on the unique needs in each case.

Advocating for You 

The experienced Springfield family law attorneys at Courtney & Mills are committed to fighting for a safe environment for children who are in dangerous situations. To discuss your concerns, schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.

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