My daughter has been in another state for seven months and my ex husband wants to keep her there.

My daughter has been in another state for seven months and my ex husband wants to keep her there.

My ex husband lives in Maryland and he turned over custody of our daughter to his parents in Michigan about 2 & 1/2 months after he got custody. She has been there since February and now he wants her to stay there with his parents and go to school until at least May. I haven’t seen my daughter since October 2014 and he has refused to give me visitation. I started proceedings to modify the custody order in April but still have not received a court date. Would I qualify for an emergency hearing for custody under the circumstances?

Thomas’s Answer

The court grants emergency hearings based on physical or sexual harm of the minor child. Without that as part of your request for an emergency hearing, the court is not likely to grant a hearing. The fact that you have filed for modification of custody is very helpful and your ex-husband’s actions may ultimately cause him to lose custody, but don’t stop reaching out to both him and his parents trying to see/contact your daughter and document all of the results, both good and bad. One of the many factors that the court bases its custody decisions on is the maintenance of the family unit. In addition, the father of the children is not looking to keep the children himself, he is insisting on keeping the children with a third party, namely his parents. Parent rights supersede any limited rights of grand parents, so do not be discouraged even if your request for an emergency hearing is not granted.

You may also wish to consider filing a motion for contempt if your ex is violating any court order by his actions. A contempt petition is likely to be heard much sooner than a modification hearing.

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