If you share custody of your children with a former spouse, you likely know the ins and outs of your custody agreement. While complying with agreement terms is a good way both to raise good kids and to stay out of legal trouble, you may need to seek a modification. If your kids are in danger, though, you may need the court to act quickly.

Before reworking a custody order, California family law judges want to see a change in circumstances. Often, changed circumstances are either beneficial to the children or neutral. Unfortunately, though, the overall health and well-being of your kids may be in jeopardy. If so, you may have few options beyond filing for an emergency custody modification.

Dangerous conditions

Not every parent makes good choices. If your children’s co-parent engages in dangerous behaviors, you may not trust him or her to provide adequate care for your kids. Even worse, you may worry that your children are in danger of sustaining physical, mental or emotional injuries. Of course, if the young ones in your family are in immediate danger, you probably want to call the police.

An emergency order 

California law allows judges to quickly grant an emergency change in a custody order. Still, the judge is apt to want to see actual evidence of danger to the kids. Police reports, medical records and photographs are usually helpful. If the judge agrees the children are in danger, he or she may grant an emergency custody change order.

An expedited process 

Typically, emergency change orders are temporary. Still, family law judges expedite the custody modification process in emergencies. That is, after securing an emergency change, your request for permanent modification is likely to move quickly.

Both you and the judge in your custody case want what is best for your kids. If a co-parent is exposing your children to a dangerous environment, he or she is not meeting this legal standard. Fortunately, California law provides a streamlined process for modifying custody orders in emergencies.