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Filing an Emergency Pick-Up Order if Your Children May Be in Danger

If you believe your children, who are in the possession of someone other than yourself, are not currently safe, an emergency pick-up order might need to be filed with the appropriate Florida circuit court. In short, an emergency pick-up order approved by the court allows law enforcement to go to your children’s present location and transfer them to your care.

This form, officially called Emergency Verified Motion For Child Pick-Up Order, can only be filed by certain people. You have the legal right to file for an emergency pick-up order if either of the following applies:

  • You are the birth mother of the children who were born out of wedlock AND a formal court order addressing parental rights has NOT been established

  • A court has formally established that you either have legal custody of your children or that you are allowed to have possession of your children through a valid time-sharing agreement

Essential Things to Know About Florida Emergency Pick-Up Orders

The most important thing to know about petitions for pick-up orders is that courts only grant them in cases of true emergencies. We understand your children’s other parent might do things with them that you don’t like, but an emergency order is not the appropriate legal avenue for such situations. 

Florida courts generally hold that the following conditions constitute an emergency: 

  • Someone wrongfully “detained” or “removed” your children

  • Harm may come to your children at any minute

  • Your children might be taken or are currently out of state without permission

What Does the Court Need?

In addition to the petition, which may need to be filed electronically, you must attach an affidavit swearing to the accuracy of the information you provide to the court. You must also provide a certified copy of a court order that formally establishes time-sharing, child custody, or paternity of your children. If you do not have any of those forms, you should attach a certified copy of the children’s birth certificates that show you are the birth mother who had your children out of wedlock.

You must also provide convincing evidence that the court should grant you the pick-up order. In extreme cases, such as when children may be in immediate danger of being seriously harmed, the court may grant the pick-up order without holding a hearing.

After You File the Petition, What Next?

If the circuit court calls for a hearing regarding the emergency pick-up order, it will usually happen within 48 hours. The other parent will be notified of the hearing and allowed to attend, perhaps virtually. Emergency pick-up orders typically last for a few days; the court typically holds a second hearing to determine whether the emergency order should stay in effect for longer.

How An Attorney Can Help

Filing an emergency pick-up order for your children means the stakes are high for everyone. When their safety and well-being are in jeopardy, you want nothing left to chance. A Florida family law attorney who understands the ins and outs of emergency pick-up orders is far and away the most valuable resource you can have during this difficult time.

The FAB Law Firm can help you present the right information to the court so you have the best chances of success. No matter what family law matter you are dealing with, we will aggressively protect your rights so you and your kids can be safe and happy. Call our firm at 800-322-9467 to discuss your legal needs with a caring team.

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