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Pennsylvania Child Custody Questions & Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Pennsylvania on

Q: I have been indicated falsely 20 years ago. I am now in a position trying to have kinship of my 3 grand children

They are telling me I may not be allowed the home evaluation because of it. I have had the req evaluation stating I can safely & adequately care for my grand children

Kathryn Hilbush answered on Jun 16, 2019

I suppose it's possible but without all the facts it's impossible to know what to tell you. You should consider consulting with an attorney experienced with CYS matters to obtain assistance in getting through this.

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Pennsylvania on

Q: Can a person voluntarily give up parental rights to a child without the child being adopted by someone else?

Kathryn Hilbush answered on Jun 13, 2019

Not really because it wouldn't become a court order until an adoption petition as well as a petition to terminate parental rights had been filed. If the person wanting to give up rights thinks doing so will relieve him/her of support obligations, no such luck. If this actually has to do with not... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Pennsylvania on

Q: Can I, as a 3rd party, file for custody of my niece while she in in custody of CYS? We are currently fostering. In PA.

Have had her for 10 months now.

Cary B. Hall answered on Jun 12, 2019

I don't see why not. You would have standing to file for custody under current PA law, and obviously already have the blessing of CYS since the child has been placed with you. Realistically, however, you already have de facto custody, but filing now for a more long-term determination is probably... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Child Custody for Pennsylvania on

Q: If parent 1 signs away parental rights and parent 2 dies, does parent 1 still have rights to a minor child if not adopte

Cary B. Hall answered on Jun 11, 2019

No. Once the parental rights are signed away and terminated by a court, Parent 1 has as much "right" to the child as I do.

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1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody for Pennsylvania on

Q: my mothers lawyer is claiming that he will not fight for my mother in a custody battle can he do that?

Matthew Williams answered on May 29, 2019

A lawyer has a duty to zealously represent his or her client. But It really depends on who the lawyer is and what is meant by “fight.” If the lawyer was hired or assigned for a different matter, he has no obligation to take part in the custody dispute. Lawyers also do not have to file motions,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody for Pennsylvania on

Q: I have a friend that is in a custody battle but she does not have a lawyer and can not afford one at this time.

What are her options?

Cary B. Hall answered on May 28, 2019

She can contact her local legal aid organization and see if they can be of any assistance. Also, sometimes the local bar association has a "Lawyer Referral Service" of some kind, and sometimes those services provide legal referrals on a cut-rate, sliding scale for payment. It's worth a shot.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody for Pennsylvania on

Q: If Mom gets arrested for child abuse and dad wants to get sole custody but lives in a different county,

Which county does he file in? Dad has apt. and driver's license in Ohio, but will have his child live with his parents in a different county in Pa.. Eventually dad will move in with grandparents to help raise his child. (CYS has taken the children away from mom; and dad/grandparents are taking care... Read more »

Cary B. Hall answered on May 28, 2019

The county where there's a custody order in place -- which is likely Mom's county of residence. If there's no custody order at all, I still suggest filing for custody in the county of Mom's/children's residence . . . and that would be your best bet as well because that county's CYS knows what's... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Pennsylvania on

Q: I have filed a custody complaint and the opposing counsel is a fraternity brother and personal aquantenance of defense

I'm the petetioner and father. The mother's boyfriend is accused of raising a knife at my 5year old son. The lawyer is a fraternity brother and friend of this boyfriend. Is there an avenue I can pursue to have this person removed from the case

Cary B. Hall answered on May 27, 2019

Not unless there is some sort of conflict-of-interest or other ethical prohibition concerning the fraternity brother's representation in the case. In fact, personal referrals are often the best sources of business for attorneys -- and this prior relationship between boyfriend and attorney as... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody for Pennsylvania on

Q: How long around, would you say judge would grant residential custody. (I still share custody) I’m her mom

My daughter and I were homeless. Her grandma and I have a court order where she has residential and I share custody also. The judge said once I have my own place and car, I can have her back. That was when she was 4. Now she is 6. I talk to her and see her. Since it’s taken me longer than... Read more »

Kathryn Hilbush answered on May 25, 2019

The way to obtain reliable advice, I'm afraid, is to meet in person with an attorney. there are so many questions to which we'd need answers and you cannot provide them on the internet. Make an appointment with an experienced family law attorney to discuss what your current situation is and what... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Child Custody for Pennsylvania on

Q: I heard from someone that if the parent has no contact within six months that they can lose their parental rights?

I have full physical custody and he has partial.

Cary B. Hall answered on May 23, 2019

That is one legal ground for a court ordering an involuntary termination of parental rights, yes. But there's more to such a determination than just that factor.

In addition, courts don't just terminate parental rights willy-nilly; they expect someone else to stand in the absent parent's...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Pennsylvania on

Q: Can I keep my daughter from going with her father for visitation if I'm concerned about her well being?

He has PTSD, talks about getting back together (I don't want to), seems depressed, admitted he wants to kill himself and he has guns in the house.

Cary B. Hall answered on May 22, 2019

Not without violating a court's custody/visitation order, no.

If you have an immediate fear for your daughter's safety, then you can file an Emergency Petition to Modify Custody -- and outline your concerns within it. That's the process for getting before a judge immediately, and without...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody for Pennsylvania on

Q: I was recently told that a child, younger than kindergarten age , can not stay overnight with the father?

the parents were never married and now are not together. the little girl is just turning 1 years old and been with the mother solely up until this point. the father also has a record when it comes to underage children that he needed to be supervised with his other daughters.

Kathryn Hilbush answered on May 18, 2019

It's not true that, as a general rule, young children may not stay overnight with their fathers. However, if either parent has a criminal or abuse history which suggests that he or she may pose a danger to the child, the court will likely order supervised visits.

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody for Pennsylvania on

Q: How can I obtain court records from a custody case in Pennsylvania?

I only have the names of the two parents and the three children involved in the case and would like to access court documents of this case for free if possible.

Kathryn Hilbush answered on May 18, 2019

It depends on whether the records are sealed. You'll have to contact the court house for the county where the custody action occurred and inquire. I doubt that, if the records are not sealed, you'll be able to obtain copies at no cost. There will likely be a per page copying fee of at least $1.00.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Child Support for Pennsylvania on

Q: Not sure when I should apply for child support with newly listed military father.

He has just signed up with the army. He moved out a couple months ago now and I haven't filed anything yet.

Cary B. Hall answered on May 16, 2019

Always file now, because any support award is retroactive back to the date of filing. If his financial situation improves in the future (and it should, as he moves through the ranks), then you can always file a petition to modify support upward.

Best of luck to you.

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody for Pennsylvania on

Q: Is it okay for a teacher to tell student not to listen to his parents

Peter N. Munsing answered on May 13, 2019

If the parents are saying don't study, yes, though I would word it differently. It matters what it's about and the context it would happen in. Chances are a lot was left out of what was filtered back. Why not set down with the teacher, get their side.

2 Answers | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Pennsylvania on

Q: How do I get custody of my granddaughters?

My two granddaughters have lived with me since they were born. Neither one of their fathers are present in their life. Their mother was living with me but she moved out in January 2019; leaving the two girls with me. They have not seen their mother since then and have had minimal contact by phone... Read more »

Cary B. Hall answered on May 10, 2019

You might try to contact one of the organizations listed here for pro bono representation:

https://www.justia.com/lawyers/family-law/pennsylvania/adams-county/legal-aid-and-pro-bono-services

Best of luck to you!

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1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Pennsylvania on

Q: Does my fiance have sole and physical custody in Pa too?

My fiance lives in Pa, with his daughter. My fiance and the childs grandmother had court in Maryland. Where she resides. To try and have custody of his daughter. The mother isn’t in the picture.

He was granted Sole and Physical custody in Maryland by the judge. This has been years since.... Read more »

Kathryn Hilbush answered on May 3, 2019

Your fiance should register his MD custody order in the PA county where he resides with the child. He may want to consult a local attorney experienced in family law for assistance if the local court house is not helpful.

2 Answers | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Pennsylvania on

Q: I’m not quite sure what my legal rights are so I’m not clear on what my next or should I say “first” step should entail.

First off...I am married. I married my husband Dave in 1999 and in 2009 we separated and I retained not court ordered “custody” of our three children. Two years into our separation I was pregnant by another man. This man did deny my daughter through my pregnancy but after the birth he did come... Read more »

Cary B. Hall answered on May 3, 2019

My suggestion is that you initially pose a question, rather than give all of the factual background. If it's a very detailed situation, then I suggest you schedule an appointment with a family law attorney in your area so that you can have sufficient time to explain everything to him/her. This... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Pennsylvania on

Q: Filing custody for my daughter. Can I file in county where I live or is it based off daughters primary address with ex?

My ex and I have been divorced for approx 10 years but never had a court ordered custody agreement done. My daughter is with my ex a majority of the time with me having her every other weekend. Based off recent fear of imminent danger to my daughter, I have filed and was approved for both the... Read more »

Cary B. Hall answered on May 2, 2019

Go with York County -- it's technically the proper county for local jurisdiction (also called "venue"), and it's also the county where your custody court action is originating.

Best of luck to you.

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Pennsylvania on

Q: My son's child is being kept away from him. If he files for partial custody, how long would it take for it to go thru?

My grandson's mother continuously changes her phone number and has moved and not informed his dad where they moved too.

Kathryn Hilbush answered on Apr 30, 2019

It depends on whether he can locate her because he'll have to serve her with custody papers before he'll be able to obtain a court order. Then he'll be at the mercy of the court schedule as to when he can get into court. My understanding is that the Philadelphia courts are very backed up when it... Read more »

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