Child Custody in Pennsylvania

Matters involving custody of your children can be extremely stressful for all parties involved.  The issues can be complex and have lasting effects on you and your family.  The best way to address child custody issues is to talk with an experienced Pennsylvania child custody attorney who can minimize your stress and fight to get the best possible result for your family. 

How Do I File For Child Custody in Pennsylvania?

The first step in obtaining custody of your child is to file a complaint in custody with your county Prothonotary.  The complaint will detail your information, the other parent’s information and your child’s information.  What must be included in a complaint will vary by county, and thus it is important to consult with a local family law attorney who understands local rules and procedures.

How is Child Custody Determined in Pennsylvania?

A court will look at a number of factors when determining what to order in a custody dispute.  You can read more about these factors here: Custody Factors. A lawyer who understands child custody laws can talk with you about these factors and how they may affect your case.

Can I get Custody of my Children if I have a Criminal Record?

It depends.  Many crimes have little to no effect on child custody matters, while others will very seriously limit your ability to seek custody.  It is also relevant how long ago the crime occurred and whether this was before or after the birth of your children.  If you have a criminal record, it is extremely important to consult with an attorney to discuss the impact of your record on your ability to obtain custody.

How Can I Modify an Existing Custody Order in Pennsylvania?

The first step in modifying an existing child custody order is to file a Petition for Modification with your county’s Prothonotary.  There are many situations in which a child custody modification is warranted.  For example, a change in the child’s schooling or age, job loss/change in circumstances, or a change in the family dynamic may provide justification for a change in custody.   The court places the burden on the parent asking for a modification to show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances before it will award a change in custody.

What Should I do if the Other Parent is not Following our Custody Order?

You should immediately contact an attorney who is experienced in child custody cases.  It may be necessary to file an emergency petition for custody or a petition for contempt of custody.  It is important to act quickly when someone is violating a court order to limit the impact on you and your children.

Should I Hire an Attorney to Help with My Child Custody Case in Pennsylvania?

It is in your best interest to hire a lawyer if you have a pending child custody case or are considering filing for custody.  In the early stages of a custody case, many parties enter into agreements without realizing the long-lasting effects of these agreements.  A lawyer can explain your options and work with you to get the best possible result.  Additionally, many custody cases go to trial.  Trials involve technical rules of procedure and evidence.  At Foreman & Caraciolo, we offer free initial consultations so that we can answer your questions and talk with you about how we would handle your child custody case.  Our attorneys are experienced trial attorneys and offer responsive and aggressive representation.  Contact us today to talk about your child custody matters.