When it comes to your kids and their health, safety, and happiness, you may find yourself in the position of needing an emergency custody lawyer. Pro Legal Care LLC and Attorney Zach Townsend offers emergency consultations via telephone and Zoom and has staff available to handle phone calls, voicemails, emails, and text messages 24/7.
What is a custody emergency?
Any number of issues could constitute an emergency in your family or divorce case.
- Other parent did not return the children as scheduled according to Parenting Plan
- Other parent threatening to withhold visitation
- Child is not at school or daycare for pickup as scheduled for visitation
- Disclosure of abuse to the child
- Suspicious bruises found on child upon return from visitation
- Other parent charged with a crime or DUI
- Other parent arrested
- Other parent hospitalized due to mental health or addiction issues
- Lack of communication or knowledge about child’s welfare
- Unscheduled travel without notice
- Other parent is exposing children to adults you don’t know or have concerns about
- Concerning discipline in other parent’s home
- Change in caretaker of children without communication
- School absences or tardiness issues
- School discipline issues or suspension
- Lack of medical care or medical care without communication
- Other parent allowing child to engage in dangerous or illegal activities
- DCFS involvement
- Business card or voicemail left by a Detective or DCFS caseworker
- False accusations
How can a lawyer help in an emergency custody situation?
If you have had a long or arduous family or divorce case, you have probably experienced how slowly the family courts can work and you may not have faith that your emergency can be addressed in time to make a difference in your child’s health or safety.
Attorneys, pro se (unrepresented) parties, and judges have options that can help your case be heard before your next scheduled date or on an emergency basis.
In past cases, Attorney Townsend and the Pro Legal Care LLC staff have helped calm a crisis through one or many of the following actions:
- Negotiation with the other party’s attorney to come to an agreement prior to your next scheduled court date
- Requesting emergency court dates
- Filing emergency orders of protection, stalking/no-contact petitions, or Motions for Emergency Injuction
- Filing emergency motions outlining the nature of the concerning behavior or change in circumstances and danger to children
- Requesting that the court appoint a Guardian ad Litem, an attorney who represents the best interest of the children
- Requesting an in camera interview of the child by the judge
- Requesting that the court order a Custody Evaluation or Psychiatric Evaluation of one or both parties
Your specific situation will determine which path is the best option for your emergency.
What should I look for in a custody lawyer?
Custody lawyers should respond quickly to your inquiry and provide options for consultation. When evaluating an attorney, consider how easy it was to reach their office on nights or weekends, how quickly you were able to schedule a consultation, how thorough their intake and consultation process was in getting to the bottom of the issues in your case, and how comfortable you feel with not just the attorney, but all staff members throughout the scheduling process.
Especially when you have a frightening or dangerous situation involving your children, you need an emergency custody lawyer who can deliver the following:
- Able to schedule an emergency consultation in a short time period. Emergency consultations may include a consultation fee, as the speed required for an emergency consultation may necessitate the attorney work outside of his or her normal business hours or to reschedule another appointment.
- Utilizes full-time staff, not answering services located in other states or countries who are unable to provide you information about the lawyer’s availability or your case
- Returns voicemails promptly
- Responds to texts and emails quickly and thoroughly
- Provides non-attorney staff members who can coordinate your case’s issues and help you save money by performing clerical tasks that don’t require an attorney
Can you file for custody without a lawyer?
Yes. An attorney is not required to file motions, appear, and work through the court system in your Family or Divorce case. You can also file for an Order of Protection on behalf of yourself or your child without an attorney.
If you believe you or your children are unsafe and you are in the Rockford, IL / Winnebago County, IL area, you can also seek help through the Rockford Family Peace Center. You can also contact the National 24 Hour Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
As an experienced Illinois and Wisconsin divorce and family law attorney, Zach Townsend recommends at least scheduling a consultation with an attorney who can give you an idea of some of the problems that may arise as your case progresses so that you can anticipate the risks and difficulties of being a pro se (unrepresented) litigant in family court. Representing yourself without the legal knowledge necessary may create delays or problems within your case that a lawyer cannot undo or may be expensive or take a long time for a lawyer to fix for you if you do not hire an attorney in a timely fashion.
How do I schedule an emergency appointment with Zach Townsend?
Call or text (815) 200-8802 to begin the process of scheduling an emergency custody lawyer consultation with Attorney Zachary Townsend. Our email and voicemail systems are monitored 24/7, so please be sure to leave a message if you reach our voicemail – we do not return calls based on a missed call alone. We will provide you with our next available consultation options and go over the consultation fee if necessary.
During your emergency attorney consultation, Attorney Townsend will go over the background and history of your situation and your goals and quote your retainer in order to hire Pro Legal Care LLC to represent you in your matter.