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What can I do if I need a custody order right away and I am married to my child's other parent?

Produced by Attorney Jeff Wolf for MassLegalHelp
Reviewed July 2017

If you are married and you need to get a custody order right away, because of domestic violence, file a 209A Complaint for Protection from Abuse and ask for custody in the complaint. See What if I need a custody order right away because of domestic violence?

If you need to get custody right away for your child’s well-being and happiness, file:

  • A Motion for a Speedy Hearing and Short Order of Notice
  • A Motion for Temporary Custody
  • An affidavit in support of the motions,
  • A proposed order,
  • Complaint for Separate Support, and
  • An Affidavit Disclosing Care or Custody Proceeding.

Sometimes the waiting list at the Probate and Family Court is several weeks long.

Ask the court clerk how long you have to wait for a hearing on your Motion for Temporary Custody. If the wait is too long and you need to have a hearing much sooner, ask the clerk to let you see a judge right away. You need to have all your court papers filled out.

When you see the judge, ask them to schedule a custody hearing as soon as possible. Use a Motion for a Speedy Hearing and Short Order of Notice. This Motion:

  • asks the judge to hear your custody case as soon as possible,
  • explains why you need it as soon as possible, and
  • asks the judge to tell you how to notify the other parent of the hearing.

Your Motion for Temporary Custody tells the judge why it is in your child’s best interest to give you custody as soon as possible.

Your Affidavit in support of the motions lists the facts and reasons that show why you need to have a hearing as soon as possible and why you should have custody.

Fill out the Complaint for Separate Support and check the box next to “grant the plaintiff custody of the above-named child(ren)” and fill in the circle next to plaintiff.

Image of Complaint for Separate Support form.

The Affidavit Disclosing Care or Custody Proceeding tells the court if there are already any court orders about your child. It also tells the court if any judge is making decisions about your child now. Read Affidavit Disclosing Care or Custody Proceeding for help.

If the judge orders a Speedy Hearing, the order will tell you how to notify the other parent. Give them copies of all the papers when you notify them.

Samples
to help you fill out the forms you need

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