What is a Temporary Custody Order?

June 14, 2024by Adam Sacks

In a scenario where immediate custody decisions need to be made when families face unexpected challenges, a temporary custody order becomes the holding pattern, ensuring the child is well cared for while long-term decisions are made.

A temporary custody order is a legal document issued by a court to establish temporary custody arrangements for children during divorce or separation cases.

The order specifies the rights and responsibilities of both parents during the transition, including living arrangements for the children, visitation schedules for the noncustodial parent, and guidelines for decision-making on important matters like education, healthcare, and extracurricular activities.


Pursuing a Temporary Custody Order

Obtaining a temporary custody order involves initiating legal proceedings through the court system.  Seeking temporary custody usually involves submitting a motion or petition to the court, along with an explanation and supporting evidence.

When determining child custody, the court considers factors such as the child’s age and preferences, the parents’ mental and physical health, history of abuse or neglect, stability of the home environment, and ability to meet the child’s needs.


Emergency Child Custody Orders

An emergency child custody order is a legal document issued by a court in urgent situations where the safety and well-being of a child are at risk. This type of custody order is typically requested when there is an immediate threat to the child’s health or safety, such as:

Emergency child custody orders are meant to provide temporary protection for the child until a more permanent solution can be established through regular custody proceedings. These orders are granted without the other party being present in court, as they are considered to be emergency situations that require immediate action.

To obtain an emergency child custody order, the requesting party must provide evidence of the urgent situation and reasons for immediate action to protect the child. This may include testimony from witnesses, medical reports, police reports, or other documentation that supports the claim of danger to the child.

Emergency child custody orders are not meant to permanently change the custody arrangement, but rather to provide immediate protection for the child in crisis situations. In most cases, the court will schedule a hearing to determine if the emergency custody order should be extended or modified based on additional evidence and arguments presented by both parties.


Emergency Child Custody Orders


How Temporary Custody May Affect Legal and Physical Custody

Legal custody and physical custody are terms used within family law to determine the rights and responsibilities of parents towards their children. The main difference between them lies in the scope of decision-making authority and the actual residence of the child.

Legal custody is a type of authority given to a parent that allows them to make significant decisions in a child’s life, including education, healthcare, religious upbringing, and general welfare. This responsibility requires the parent to prioritize the child’s well-being and best interests in all decisions.

Physical custody, on the other hand, pertains to the actual residence and day-to-day care of the child. Involves creating a stable home environment, meeting the child’s basic needs, establishing daily routines, and supervising their development. The parent with physical custody is the one with whom the child resides most of the time and has primary caregiving responsibilities.

When it comes to matters of child custody during times of divorce or separation, temporary custody can have a significant impact on both legal and physical custody arrangements. The temporary arrangement can impact the final decisions on legal and physical custody, as it gives an insight into each parent’s caregiving ability and could establish a precedent for future agreements.

Temporary custody often offers an opportunity for each parent to demonstrate their ability to meet the physical and emotional needs of their child. During this period, the court examines the parent’s behavior, living conditions, and parenting skills to make decisions about legal and physical custody.

If one parent is able to consistently provide a stable and supportive environment during temporary custody, it may increase their chances of obtaining primary physical custody. Showing responsibility and involvement in decision-making during temporary custody may influence a parent’s case for legal custody. How each parent behaves during this period can have a significant impact on the court’s decision about custody arrangements.


What is the Duration of a Temporary Custody Agreement?

The duration of a temporary custody agreement can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case. In some situations, a temporary custody order may only be in place for a few weeks or months until a permanent custody arrangement is established through negotiation or court decision.

Temporary custody orders can also be extended if necessary, especially if the court needs more time to make a final decision on legal and physical custody.

If you are trying to file for a temporary custody order, the experienced family law attorneys at Sacks & Sacks can help guide you through the process and ensure that your child’s best interests are protected. Call Sacks & Sacks today for a free consultation.


What is the Duration of a Temporary Custody Agreement?



Q. How long does a temporary custody order last?

The duration of a temporary custody order varies depending on the circumstances of the case and the jurisdiction. It could last until a final custody agreement is reached or until the court makes a permanent custody decision. Typically, it’s intended to be a short-term solution to ensure the child’s safety and well-being during the legal process. [1]

Q. How can you apply for a temporary custody order?

To apply for a Temporary Custody Order, you must file a petition with the family court in your jurisdiction. The process includes submitting necessary documentation related to the child’s welfare and reasons for requesting temporary custody, including details about both parents’ living situations, the child’s needs, and any relevant legal considerations. [1]

Q. What aspects do courts consider when issuing a temporary custody order?

Courts consider several factors when issuing a Temporary Custody Order, including the child’s best interests, safety and health, parental care capabilities, and any history of family violence or substance abuse. The main objective is to prioritize the child’s well-being and minimize disruptions to their life throughout legal proceedings. [1]



[1] Temporary Child Custody Orders. (2018, October 12). Justia. https://www.justia.com/family/child-custody-and-support/child-custody/temporary-custody-orders/

by Adam Sacks

Adam Sacks is lead Family Law Attorney at Law Offices of Sacks & Sacks, P.A. in Jacksonville, Florida. He has a BA in Psychology from 1994, and received his Juris Doctor Degree in 1999 from the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School.

Sacks and Sacks Law
1646 Emerson St. Suite B Jacksonville, FL 32207

Follow us:



Law Offices of Sacks & Sacks, P.A.

Copyright © Sacks & Sacks Law 2024
Powered by LawSmiths