Temporary Custody Orders:
In Santa Clara County, when a case is just getting started, unless there is need for emergency orders, the court will not initially be involved. Since emergency orders are only appropriate when a child is in a dangerous situation, most cases do not qualify for emergency orders. This procedure may be different in other counties.
A temporary agreement may be made, and issued as a court order, to make arrangements for the care and visitation of the child if one parent lives outside the child’s household. In Santa Clara County the Judge at this stage of the proceedings, will merely refer the parents to Family Court Services for mediation and will only issue orders at this time with the terms that the parties agree upon. Some neighboring counties (for instance Santa Cruz, Alameda and San Mateo, & Contra Costa) have a system whereby Family Court Services can be used to obtain immediate temporary orders with a recommendation to the court, which can be made into an order even over the objection of one party – this then has the effect of establishing a new status quo. Which may or may not be favorable to one of the parties.
If there are no allegations of violence or substance abuse in the household:
The best situation is to stay within the household for as long as possible, this will allow you the most interactions with your children and it will not change the .This may not be possible or desirable, but in all cases each parent should attempt to be involved on a continuous basis in their children’s lives.
If there are allegations of violence and/or substance abuse in the household:
The person making allegations of violence should talk to a Family Law Attorney to determine whether a protective order is necessary, which may include a ‘kick-out’ order.
If a kick-out order is made, the other parent MUST leave the house and MUST comply with the all terms of the order. A violation of the temporary (or emergency) protective order is a crime and it may involve a stay in the county jail.
Likewise, if one parent has substance abuse issues that are not under control, the other parent should talk to an attorney about protecting the children from any negative effects that the children might receive from the other parent.
Remember: each parent should make sure that their name remains on, or is placed on, the ‘emergency notification’ card of the children’s school and/or daycare. It is important that each parent participates, as much as possible, in the children’s school work, parent-teacher conferences, and extracurricular activities.