Making an urgent application to the family court about your child

You can make an urgent application to the court in an emergency. An emergency could include:

  • any risk to you or your child’s life, safety or freedom
  • risk of your child being unlawfully taken out of the UK
  • risk that you might otherwise suffer ‘unreasonable hardship’

It's an emergency

Contact the court immediately explaining the situation. You may be allowed to see a judge or magistrate the same day or shortly afterwards.

If it’s outside normal court hours, you may be able to contact the duty judge. Check your local court online.

Do I have to tell the other parent?

Usually, you’d be expected to tell the other parent about your application. But in cases involving domestic abuse, telling the other parent might be dangerous or counterproductive.

For example:

  • it would make it more likely the other parent would do the thing you’re trying to stop (such as taking the child out of the country)
  • you or your child would be put in danger
  • it’s so urgent you don’t have time to tell them

In these situations, you can ask the court for permission not to tell the other parent. This is called a without notice application.

You’ll have to show the judge some evidence for them to allow this.

Even if the court agrees, it's still likely to allow the other parent to put forward their side of the story at a future hearing.

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