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Pennsylvania Child Custody Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: what wil happen if my child refuses to go to fathers on schedule date?

My 9 year ole daughters refuses to go to her fathers every other monday when it time to go. What will happen to myself, mom if I dont make her. I have already file to modify custody but of course that is 30 days away. Shes ready too talk to judge, but I know I have to wait for trial.

Kathryn Hilbush
Kathryn Hilbush answered on Jul 2, 2020

The court expects you to follow its orders. Your daughter is 9 years old and not in control- you are because you are an adult and you are her parent. Tell her she must follow the order. Do no say anything bad about the dad. If the judge is willing, she can have her say in 30 days. That's not... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Pennsylvania on
Q: Ex's new gf has a DUI & open drug possession/paraphernalia charges. Can I modify custody to protect daughter?

Ex and new gf fight constantly in front of daughter in her car and drive around drinking alcohol. She also continuously calls me derogatory names in front of daughter.

Cary B. Hall
Cary B. Hall answered on Jun 29, 2020

You can file a petition to modify the terms of your custody order *anytime,* and the court will assess any change in circumstances as it relates to the best interests of your daughter. A past DUI on Dad's new girlfriend's record may have little relevance to custody proceedings, esp. if... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Pennsylvania on
Q: Why would it be helpful to allow the other parent to file for custody first?

The child is mainly with me an goes with other parent on weekends there are safety concerns with the other parent such as him drinking an driving an even showing up to pick child up with an open container in vehicle. When I spoke with a lawyer the suggested to let him file first but im confused as... Read more »

Cary B. Hall
Cary B. Hall answered on Jun 25, 2020

The only reason I can think of to let the other parent file first is to save yourself the court filing fee of opening up a custody case (which can run a few hundred dollars, and is $155.00 in Lycoming County).

Pennsylvania criminal law already prohibits a person from driving while...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Pennsylvania on
Q: I got emergency custody of kids bc father went to jail. We have a modification hearing this week if he's looking at 5yrs

will I get full custody

Cary B. Hall
Cary B. Hall answered on Jun 22, 2020

The Court will be more interested in what sentence your children's father actually receives, and less so what he's "looking at." For instance, first-degree misdemeanors in Pennsylvania carry a maximum sentence of 5 years in jail, but many defendants so charged receive only... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody for Pennsylvania on
Q: My ex has repeatedly threatened me and my girlfriend. I saved the messages, will these help me in court?

she has also stated that she will not give me my daughter even with a court order.

Cary B. Hall
Cary B. Hall answered on Jun 22, 2020

Potentially, yes - so save them and transfer them some way to your computer *and* print them out in such a way that the participants/dates/times can be recognized. You may find this easier said than done, however, which is why I always advise my family law clients to communicate by email only!... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Child Support for Pennsylvania on
Q: Hello, How much will I pay for child support? Please see details below.

We're not married. We both live in cumberland county PA.

My daughter's mom and I split up but we are spending the same amount of time taking care of our daughter (3.5 days with me and 3.5 days with her mom)

We both have the same gross income (She get paid just a dollar... Read more »

Cary B. Hall
Cary B. Hall answered on Jun 18, 2020

Since you're paying for your daughter's health insurance, you've got 50/50 time and the parent's incomes are the same, you probably shouldn't be paying ANY child support to your daughter' mother. In addition, you could probably negotiate alternating who gets to claim... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Child Support for Pennsylvania on
Q: Social distancing and covid concerns

We have 50/50 custody of my stepson and also take care of my husbands elderly mother. She is considered high risk. Today we found out that my husbands ex has not been practicing social distancing and has been letting their son play with children closely. Talks in the house have been it might not... Read more »

Cary B. Hall
Cary B. Hall answered on Jun 18, 2020

If there's no court order, there aren't any "official" rules by which to play -- at least right now. He has two recourses: (1) work it out informally, just like he always has, or (2) file a Complaint for Custody and let the court sort everything out.

Your...
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1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody for Pennsylvania on
Q: Due to pandemic can someone restrict their father from weekly visitation if they feel they and family they live with are

Not practicing safety measures like not wearing masks and social distancing with others

Cary B. Hall
Cary B. Hall answered on Jun 15, 2020

Philadelphia Legal Assistance created this guide back in late March 2020 concerning custody during the pandemic: https://philalegal.org/custodyCOVID19. It may be of some use to you.

A court order is still a court order, even in a pandemic - and if you choose not to follow it, for...
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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Child Support for Pennsylvania on
Q: Are there laws in PA that restrict dad from bathing five year old daughter? And sleep with her on the same bed?

PA family law

Cary B. Hall
Cary B. Hall answered on Jun 15, 2020

I am aware of no such laws in Pennsylvania, and I've been practicing family law in the Commonwealth for 20 years.

Sounds like you two could benefit from some family counseling, at least for the kids' sake. Perhaps suggest it to her as a responsible father and co-parent. Best of luck to you.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can I keep my daughter from her bio father if he was high while she was in his care?

I was just informed that my daughter's bio dad was high while she was in his care (An entire weekend in another city). She is 4 1/2 and he had no involvement in her life until September 2019. I was informed that he was using heroin for the last month, including when he had her. We have no... Read more »

Cary B. Hall
Cary B. Hall answered on Jun 9, 2020

Yes, you can can (and probably should) file for emergency custody -- or, since there's no order, you could also refuse to allow him physical custody of your daughter any longer and let *him* file for a custody order.

The tricky part, of course, is the reliability of your information...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Family Law and Child Custody for Pennsylvania on
Q: My husband has says that Covid-19 is fake news! He has been putting us at risk every single day, says he doesn't care!

My husband is out socializing EVERY-SINGLE-DAY! Partying every/all weekend and refuses to distance/wear mask/etc. He wont allow our 6 yr old son to wear a mask when they are outside together which really bothers my son. Today, for the 2nd time (1st time was even worse), he has risked our son's... Read more »

Cary B. Hall
Cary B. Hall answered on Jun 8, 2020

At this point, you're still married and each of you has as much "right" to parent your child as you each see fit. If you want to change that and have "a leg to stand on" to prevent your husband from parenting in a way that you oppose, then you'll need to file at least... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody for Pennsylvania on
Q: Joint legal custody, summer visitation coming up. My son has a work permit I did not sign an acknowledgement for...

I was just informed three days prior to my first summer visit that he was scheduled to work during my work hours, and requires me to transport him. I never signed anything stating he would be working or what his schedule would be, his mother did. I am unable to transport him to work due to having... Read more »

Cary B. Hall
Cary B. Hall answered on Jun 5, 2020

There's nothing in Pennsylvania law that provides an answer to this; rather, the courts have the authority to make decisions in specific cases like yours. A court could order her to provide transportation, or not - and someone would have to file something to bring the issue to the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: Is Summer vacation custody time "pure vacation" or is it substituted with regular custody time? When is "Summer"?

If I have child custody on a 3 day weekend, and I need to incorporate taking 7 days of vacation with my child, do I have custody for 10 days, or only 7 days total, effectively losing 3 days of "vacation"? In other words, are the vacation days "pure" vacation days that can be... Read more »

Cary B. Hall
Cary B. Hall answered on Jun 4, 2020

Normally, a comprehensive custody agreement would answer all of your questions by defining all of these terms. If it doesn't -- and make sure you review any written agreement to make sure it doesn't -- then you have two options: (1) go back to court to get the clarifications you seek,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Pennsylvania on
Q: My husband(we're separated) overdosed and attempted suicide 5 days ago. He's in the hospital on a psychiatric unit for 3

More days. I'm concerned for our children's safety and want to seek full custody. They chose to live with me. He moved out. There's a history of domestic abuse from him which the kids and I are receiving counseling at Victim Services through the YWCA.

Cary B. Hall
Cary B. Hall answered on Jun 4, 2020

Sounds like you have very valid grounds in which to file an emergency petition to modify custody -- if there's even a custody order in place at all (which is unclear from your question). If not, you should certainly seek one. If so, you could file an emergency petition to seek your... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Pennsylvania on
Q: What’s going to happen in this situation?

My daughters mom is claiming to have evidence that I hit/ hurt my daughter. I have evidence that shows I don’t and have not. If our evidence conflicts with each other what would happen to our daughter?

My fear is she’ll be put in a foster home until a professional gets to talk to her... Read more »

Cary B. Hall
Cary B. Hall answered on Jun 2, 2020

It depends with whom the abuse complaint is made. Presumably, your daughters mother would notify either the local police or the county child protective agency, and then an investigation would be opened. As long as the investigators believe that the child is in no imminent danger, the child... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Child Support for Pennsylvania on
Q: What are the steps I need to take to file a petition for modification?

Do I need to send the Plaintiff a copy of the filled out modification form, Criminal History form, Blank Criminal History forms, and a copy of the order? Do I need to have her signature upon delivery of the documents? When I send in my copy to the Prothonotary I send all of the above plus the $100... Read more »

Cary B. Hall
Cary B. Hall answered on May 29, 2020

Each Pennsylvania county has their own local requirements (esp. for the filing fee). I suggest you directly contact the Prothonotary's Office for the county in which you wish to file. Sometimes there's a court website that more-or-less walks you through the filing steps as well, if... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: So if there is no custody order in place can I go pick my 13 yr old up from her dads without his permission
Cary B. Hall
Cary B. Hall answered on May 29, 2020

If you are the biological mother and there is no custody order concerning your daughter, then you presently have the same legal rights to your daughter as her biological father. Legally, you don't need his permission to have physical custody of your daughter.

But it sounds like...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody for Pennsylvania on
Q: I am filing for custody of my son. My grandmother has physical custody of him but my ex and I have legal. Is she a party

I have been a victim of parental alienation for almost 2 years which is why she has physical custody. My ex-husband claims to want to keep it out of court like I do but hes not trustworthy. The situation is complicated and definitely unique

Cary B. Hall
Cary B. Hall answered on May 28, 2020

If there's a court order which gives her any kind of physical custody, then yes - she's definitely an "interested party" and must be notified of any custody filings.

Best of luck to you.

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Child Support for Pennsylvania on
Q: How can I modify a custody order when the courts are closed. We had a temporary order but doesn't let me see my child.

What can I do to get my visits back with my daughter? In addition to that she is collecting aftercare money from me and my daughter no longer is in aftercare at all.

Cary B. Hall
Cary B. Hall answered on May 14, 2020

You can file an *emergency* motion to modify custody, and request the court to grant you time with your daughter.

You can do the same with Domestic Relations concerning a modification to eliminate the portion of the child support order for aftercare expenses.

Best of luck to you.

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Child Support for Pennsylvania on
Q: My ex-husband is trying to take me for child support

He's trying to take me for support when I barely make any money or none at all ( Caregiver). He makes more than I do, He's trying to go after my husband ( not the father to the 2 children I have with him) because he's the one that makes the money. Will he win the support case? I have... Read more »

Cary B. Hall
Cary B. Hall answered on May 12, 2020

Child support goes by a parent's "earning capacity," not necessarily his/her "income." If a parent isn't working -- and doesn't have a good reason for not working -- an earning capacity could be imputed/assigned to the non-working parent for purposes of a child... Read more »

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