York, PA asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Pennsylvania

Q: Father got new charges for DUI, can I file for contempt?

Have shared custody with my son father. Before that we have supervised visits for 4 hrs once a week then went to 8hrs unsupervised after he did some parenting classes and some kind of evaluation and now he has every other weekend over night. He has a long criminal record with lots of DUI’s. Custody papers said he is to stay away from alcohol with or with out child around. He just recently got pull over by the northern regional police and got another DUI. This is not his first DUI and he has been in jail related to DUI and aggravated assault. He went to jail in 2014 for a year in a half for his 4th DUI offense and now he has a second offense and that happen in 12/18/17 and his hearing is on 6/22/2018. His charges from before are from bulglary, fleeing the police, reckless driving, and many others.

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1 Lawyer Answer

Amanda J Iannuzzelli

  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Media, PA

A: You may file a Petition for Contempt of Custody Order against your child’s father if your order clearly states that he is to abstain from the use of alcohol. A failure to abide by and follow the terms of a court order is typically grounds for a Petition for Contempt. However, depending on the urgency of the situation, you may want to consider filing a Petition for Emergency Custody. Depending on what county you are located in, it may take the Court weeks to months to hear a standard non-emergency. Emergency petitions, if granted or found to have a legitimate basis for the purpose of a hearing, could be listed within a matter of days. Regardless, if you have a true and valid reason for filing and Petition for Emergency Custody, and are able to articulate this reason clearly in your petition, the matter should be listed significantly faster than a standard petition such as Petition for Contempt. Before you file an emergency, you need to validly assess whether you meet the qualifications and criteria that will be considered by the Court. Emergency petitions may be filed when you are in fear that the child may be at risk of, or currently in immediate harm, or has been or is about to be removed from the jurisdiction. One parent abusing drugs or alcohol has been the frequent and continuing subject many emergency custody petitions. You must weigh your objective and subjective view of how immediate and apparent the risk of harm to your child may be. If your child’s father has a long history of alcohol abuse, to such an extent that he had to have supervised visitation for a period of time, you may feel that it is not safe for your child to be in his father’s unsupervised care. In other words, an emergency petition would be appropriate if you believe that your child’s father may abuse alcohol in the presence of your child, and that it poses an immediate risk of harm.

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