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Pennsylvania Family Law Questions & Answers
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 Child Support and Family Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: My spouse filed for divorce almost two years ago and has been non compliant with court orders. Can it go into default?

He has outstanding support obligations and is in arrears for two children. If he filed for divorce and I have answered the complaint, at what point can it go into default?

Kathryn Hilbush
Kathryn Hilbush
answered on Jun 27, 2020

Cases usually don't go into default. Upon occasion they may be terminated due to inactivity.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can I adopt my ex girlfriend's daughter if my ex girlfriend is now married to a man?

I am married to another woman and she is married to a man. There is no biological father in the picture.

Kathryn Hilbush
Kathryn Hilbush
answered on Jun 27, 2020

I seriously doubt it. This is one of the strangest questions I've seen. If anyone were to adopt that child it would likely be the mother's husband, not an ex-boyfriend

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 Support for Pennsylvania on
Q: I filed for child support and they're asking me about my income but i don't have any. What do i do?

Since the virus has been going around its been hard to find a job.

Kathryn Hilbush
Kathryn Hilbush
answered on Jun 23, 2020

Tell them exactly that - you don't have any. Be able to provide solid evidnece that you've been looking for work. Also, why aren't you receiving unemployment compensation? Don't try to answer me but that may be something they'll be interested in knowing.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Support for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can I find out if I overpaid in arrears?

Paid arrears for 17 years for being approx 1 month behind. CP filed in March, court date and agreement reached in April of 2003. Case just closed but I don't believe I should have been paying arrears for that long. Can I get full History of payments?

Kathryn Hilbush
Kathryn Hilbush
answered on Jun 23, 2020

Sure. Contract the county Domestic Relations Office which handled the case and ask what they need you to do in order to obtain an accounting of your payments. You may have to email them. It's hard to tell you what the process will be because it's likely their procedures have been... 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 Civil Rights and Family Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can I leave my house at 17 without permission? Or could I legally move out at 17 without parental consent?

I’m 2 months from turning 18, been had a stable job for 2 years now, and I can’t live here anymore, so am I able to leave without her permission

Kathryn Hilbush
Kathryn Hilbush
answered on Jun 20, 2020

If she won't allow you to move out, I strongly suggest that you tough out the last two months before you turn 18.

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...
Read more »

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 Support and Family Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: If two minors are found to be having a baby, can the parents of the teenage father be held responsible for Child Support
Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing
answered on Jun 5, 2020

this may depend upon the age of each.

https://pcar.org/laws-policy/age-consent

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: My wife and I are both disabled and a disabled 22 year old son whom we need a power of attorney for.

My wife and I are both disabled and a disabled 22 year old son whom we need a power of attorney for. Please help poor and have very limited funds where can we get help?

We live in western PA

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing
answered on Jun 5, 2020

your local legal aid /legal services should be able to help. Also, your county disabled assistance office may also help.

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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 Family Law and Child Support for Pennsylvania on
Q: Full custody of my son for 8 yrs he wants to live w mom now if she goes for support can I get back support for the 8 yrs

She lives in Georgia now but had no support/barely any contact for 8 yrs I had our son

Kathryn Hilbush
Kathryn Hilbush
answered on May 28, 2020

Not likely. You should have filed while you had custody of him. The PA support rules do not allow retroactivity of support orders beyond the date of filing for support. If you failed to file for support because you didn't want her trying to come back into your son's life or if you... Read more »

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