How to Revoke Temporary Child Custody


Many states share the same or similar laws regarding child custody cases. Laws are put in place to protect the child and, if possible, preserve the family unit -- that is, maintain the central unit consisting of the child and his/her parent(s). Temporary custody can be obtained by one of the parents, in the case of a divorce, or by an extended family member in other instances. Revoking temporary child custody is possible, but important information regarding the process must be known.

The Process of Revoking Temporary Child Custody

  • Speak to an attorney to discuss parental rights, child custody, termination and other legal issues relating to the child in question. Fees may be charged by the attorney for the consultation, however, you are not obligated to move forward or hire the attorney. A meeting with an attorney can bring to light a number of important factors regarding your decision to revoke a temporary child custody order.

  • Draft a petition to terminate the temporary child custody that a parent or extended family member currently has. The petition must state the full names and addresses of the child, father and mother (this is needed to verify the court jurisdiction for any related trials). Additionally, your relation to the child also must be stated. Further, you must list the reason you are seeking to revoke temporary custody. A parent, or both parents, always retain the rights to revoke temporary child custody for the other or from an extended family member. The person drafting the petition must ensure he or she is fit (as per state requirements) to parent the child, though the court will determine this fact.

  • File the petition with the state's family law court; the petition must be filed in a court within the county where the child currently resides. A copy also must be provided to the parent or extended family member whose temporary custody you are trying to revoke.

  • Attend the hearing scheduled by the court. Either your attorney, or yourself (depending on whether you chose to defend yourself) must argue the case to the judge. Clear and convincing evidence (evidence that your claim is substantially more likely to be true than false) must be presented in court that justifies the revocation of any child custody order. The court may modify an order granting temporary custody to the petitioner if all parties consent. Modifications may be made if the court decides that is best for the child. Additionally, the Order for Temporary Custody must specify a length of time for the temporary custody to be in effect.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure to keep all documented paperwork related to the temporary child custody order. This information is needed for court hearings.
  • Making a list of what makes the petitioner a fit parent or guardian will be extremely helpful in court.


  • Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images
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