Pay the filing fee. If you live in Pennsylvania, you can apply even if the noncustodial parent, the parent who does not have primary care, custody, or control of the child(ren), lives in another state. This brochure explains the Custody Mediation Program of the Philadelphia Family Court. This guide contains a list of the sixteen factors that make up the "best interests of the child" standard under Pennsylvania law. Developed by Philadelphia Legal Assistance as part of its Make Your Case video series. Some courts may offer a hotline for you to call and ask questions. Contact your county’s prothonotary (see PA Courthouse Locations), a domestic violence organization, or a legal services provider in your area (see PA Places that Help for a list of resources) for more information. Ultimately, the clerk might become your best resource in navigating the custody system. However, there are general court procedures that every state has in common. This guide contains a list of the types of criminal convictions that the court must consider when making a decision about child custody. Look here for updates from the Family Law Unit regarding updates on coronvirus (COVID-19) : philalegal.org/familylawcovid19, Philadelphia Legal Assistance | 718 Arch Street, Suite 300N, Philadelphia, PA 19106 | Phone: 215.981.3800 | Fax: 215.981.3860 | Intranet | Log In, Providing free civil legal services to low-income residents of Philadelphia since 1996, As a non-profit, we rely on grants and gifts to fund our work. There are, 2021 Philadelphia Legal Assistance- This is a Free Drupal Theme, Custody and Support Assistance Clinic (CASAC), Child Custody Exchanges and Filings During Coronavirus (COVID-19), Planning for Custody and Care of Children: an Informational Guide for Immigrant Families, Resources at the Philadelphia Family Court Help Center, Representing Yourself in Custody Court: One Parent’s Experiences, Court Forms Available From the First Judicial District, First Judicial District's court forms page, Custody Mediation Program, Philadelphia Family Court, Family law self-help resources from Women's Law Project. This guide is intended to give basic information under Pennsylvania law about custody of children and how to plan for and or deal with a change in circumstances due to a parent’s sudden or expected absence or inability to care for her/his children. Call our Family Law Hotline at 215-981-3838 for help. If you've gone through a divorce or breakup that involves minor children, you need to know how to file for child custody. … If you would like assistance or information on other steps you can take to increase your safety, please call the Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hotline at (866) SAFE-014, or contact the Victim/Witness Services Unit at (215) 686-8027. If possible, carve out a day to spend at family court before filing your child custody case to become familiar with the process. This guide explains the services available at the Help Center. Explain to the clerk that you're interested in initiating a child custody suit. The fee is $42.68. Monday - Thursday, 9:30 A.M. - 12:00 P.M. PLA's Family Law Intake Line does not accept applications for assistance with divorce, child support, or spousal support. Custody mediation is an informal voluntary process in which the parents or primary caregivers talk together with a trained mediator to make decisions about caring for the children and parenting schedules. It defines the amount of time each party will spend with the child (physical custody) and how major decisions are made about the child (legal custody). PA’s CHILD CUSTODY LAW: What You Need To Know Prepared by the Women’s Law Project, www.womenslawproject.org Page 1, March 2011 WHAT IS A CUSTODY ORDER? They would then file a Philadelphia County Complaint for Custody with the Clerk of Court of Family Court at 1133 Chestnut Street. The Family Law Unit at Philadelphia Legal Assistance is OPEN during the pandemic. For a free consultation with our family law attorneys, call 215-814-0395 today. You can get a copy of a divorce decree if it was issued in Philadelphia in 1885 or later. She is teaching a civil litigation clinic at Villanova Law School. Sponsored by the Family Law Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association Page 1, September 2019 . previous custody orders, protection from abuse orders, the opposing party’s address and social security numbers for all parties. If you file in person, you may pay the filing fee by money order, cash, or credit card. As of July 2018, the fee for filing a custody complaint in Philadelphia Family Court is $107.13. In most cases, we help clients represent themselves in custody cases, but in special cases we will go to court for a custody client. 1. File the completed complaint and information sheet with the filing fee by mailing or hand-delivering them in person to: Clerk of Court 1133 Chestnut St. Philadelphia, Pa. 19107 5. This 20-minute video discusses the factors that Family Court considers when making decisions in custody cases. Bring some money with you as well, because you will have to pay a filing fee. Browse comprehensive profiles including education, … Any time as long as the child is a dependent minor and you have full or shared custody, you have control of the child(ren), or you are a putative father. This type of case lets the court make custody and visitation orders and other orders. You can find out exactly how much you'll have to pay in advance by speaking with the court clerk. How to File for Sole or Joint Custody of Your Child, Ⓒ 2021 About, Inc. (Dotdash) — All rights reserved, Verywell Family uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Pa. R.C.P. Filing for Custody . Emilia Golanska is a Managing Attorney at PLA. Custody is a person's legal right to care, control, guard, and keep a minor child. Without assistance, the process can be challenging and time-consuming, involving formal legal documentation and complicated filing … The office is located at 34 S. 11th St. in Philadelphia. Someone interested in filing for custody can get general information from the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Citizens Guide to Child Custody. You should refer to this case ID anytime you need to obtain a status update on your child custody case. To ease the process of filing out and understanding all divorce forms in Pennsylvania, you can use an online divorce service like 3stepdivorce.com to have your paperwork completed in a few hours for $299. The more you understand the process for filing divorce in Philadelphia, the more in control you will feel. The following departments at PLA provide legal assistance with Child Custody: Call the Family Law Intake Line at 215.981.3838 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between the hours of 09:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.  Callers are not able to leave a message. Filing for Emergency Custody Petitions During COVID19: Update for 07/15/2020 The Family Law Unit at Philadelphia Legal Assistance is OPEN during the pandemic. The court may award legal custody to someone who is not a parent, such as a grandparent. Please refer to the protocols for the filing and processing of discovery motions in the Trial Division-Civil found HERE. The Family Law Intake Line may be closed early if call volume is high. The filing fee for custody is different in each county. Be prepared to spend a substantial amount of time at the courthouse, as you'll need to fill out several forms. To file for full custody, complete the court-required forms, including what’s called a request for order form. If you have signed a voluntary Declaration of Paternity, you can file a Petition for Custody and Support of Minor Children. A 54-page guide and an on-line quiz for teen parents about their rights and responsibilities when it comes to paternity, child custody, child support, protection from abuse, and emancipation. If you would like to request support services online, click the button below. Leslie Allen is a Supervising Attorney of the Family Law Unit. Be nice to … Sole custody means the child’s physical and legal … Gabriela Rodriguez is a Supervising Attorney of the Family Law Unit. Please note that hearings will not be scheduled immediately upon the filing of the motion. We recommend calling at least three weeks before your court date before a Master and at least six weeks before your hearing before a Judge. Free online information is available from the Pennsylvania Courts website to assist the growing number of Pennsylvanians who want to file their own family law cases in courts across the state. The fee for filing a Petition for Custody is $172.50. Don't forget important documents such as birth certificates for each child, your identification, your contact information, and the contact information for the children's other parent. A clerk can explain rules and procedures to you. Visit the court clerk's office, as they can offer you the best assistance with a child custody case. Step 3 Fill out and file all the necessary custody petitions. The courts in Philadelphia use the Pennsylvania state child support guidelines and forms, so nothing unusual is required for filing a divorce with children in Philadelphia. The filing fee for custody is different in each county. PALawHelp.org offers self-help forms and information on a variety of family law topics, including document assembly interviews that allow you to create legal documents on-line. Produced by the University of Pennsylvania Law School with assistance from attorneys at PLA. Deeya Haldar is currently on leave from Philadelphia Legal Assistance. Assistance for immigrant women who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault is available from PLA's Immigrant Women's Legal Assistance Hotline, which assists callers with legal problems including divorce, custody, child/spousal support, protection from abuse, and immigration. 440 states the options for service of legal papers other than original process. This is a list of organizations that provide assistance with family law cases. Shereen Lehman, MS, is a healthcare journalist and fact checker. She has co-authored two books for the popular Dummies Series (as Shereen Jegtvig). Petition for Custody and Support of Minor Children. Filing procedures vary from county to county, but at a minimum, you will have to serve (deliver) your motion paperwork to the other parent. A child custody order is legally binding. PLA assists clients with custody cases in Philadelphia Family Court. 4. For more information, see: Instructions to obtain certified copies of divorce decrees (pdf) Visit the court clerk's office, as they can offer you the best assistance with a child custody case. Filing for Emergency Custody Petitions During COVID19: Update for 07/15/2020. Where to Get Child Custody and Support Forms You can get child custody documents from your child's local county court's website or from the prothonotary office. Biological parents have custody rights automatically, but a custody order by a court can change those custody rights. Some of the document assembly interviews were developed by PLA. The Philadelphia child custody lawyers at The Sadek and Cooper Law Offices may be able to help you in your child custody case. Thank you, {{form.email}}, for signing up. Visit the Intake Unit of Philadelphia Family Court to pick up the appropriate petition forms. Call our Family Law Hotline at 215-981-3838 for help. Call our Family Law Hotline at 215-981-3838 for help. This 13-minute video discusses what it is like to represent yourself in a custody case. Make sure you present proof of public assistance or … 1930.4 states the options for service of original process, the custody or divorce complaint. When establishing a custody arrangement, the court considers many factors to determine the best interest of a child. Payable to the Prothonotary’s Office, fees can be paid using cash, money orders, and credit cards - no personal checks. WHAT IS A CUSTODY ORDER? Cost: It costs $57 to file. If … The process of filing for custody differs in each state. Filing for Custody: The following is the Erie County, Pennsylvania Complaint for Custody pro se packet including the Complaint, Criminal Record/Abuse History Verification, Order and Coversheet, the Motion and Petition to Proceed In Forma Paupers (which requests that the court waive the filing fee), along with the instructions for completing these forms. Determine the rules and procedures of your specific state court. Filing for Emergency Custody Petitions During COVID19: Update for 07/15/2020 The Family Law Unit at Philadelphia Legal Assistance is OPEN during the pandemic. It defines the amount of time the parent or other caretaker will spend with the child (physical custody) Consult your specific state child custody guidelines for more specific rules and procedures relating to child custody, as this information was only meant to provide a general overview of the child custody filing process. If you cannot pay the filing fee, you can file a Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, or IFP, to be excused from payment. HELPFUL TIPS! Monday - Thursday, 9:30 A.M. - 12:00 P.M. After the other parent is served and responds to the court case, the clerk will place the case on the court calendar to be heard before the judge. Contempt of Custody: If someone violates the order, he or she may be held in contempt of court. If you cannot afford the filing fee, ask the court for an affidavit to request a waiver; “Affidavit in Support of Application for Proceeding in Custody or Visitation Cases without Payment of Filing Fees.” This also is called “Form DC-606.” If you petition for emergency custody, it will cost an extra $30. The Family Court Help Center is a room in the Philadelphia Family Court where people with family court cases can receive free legal information from knowledgable volunteers. The court will set a hearing date and you will need to attend the hearing and explain to the judge (with evidence, including documentation) how the other parent has violated the custody order. Debrina Washington is a New York-based family law attorney and writer, who runs her own virtual practice to assist single parents with legal issues. If you prepare your own petition, file it with the Clerk of Family Court on the 11thfloor of the courthouse at 1501 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA. All custody forms with instructions are on the Philadelphia Family Court’s website under Court of Common Pleas-Domestic Relations at https://www.courts.phila.gov/forms/ Speakers of languages other than English and Spanish may leave a message with the Immigrant Women's Legal Assistance Hotline by calling 215.981.3838 at any time. A custody order is a written order signed by a judge. You will need to contact someone who knows the other parent and ask them to serve the parent with the child custody papers. To prepare yourself for the amount of documents needed, visit your state court's website in advance and look for appropriate child custody court forms. This brochure explains what custody is and how to file for it in Philadelphia. Division, staff of the Court Administrator’s Office and the Judge’s Law Clerk are neither qualified nor. Pa. R.C.P. If you petition for emergency custody, it will cost an extra $42.68. Remember that the other parent will need to be notified that there's a pending child custody case, referred to as service of process. Only Petitions for Custody and Modifications of a Custody Order can be processed. Child Custody Filing Procedures. Contact your county’s prothonotary (see PA Courthouse Locations), a domestic violence organization, or a legal services provider in your area (see PA Places that Help for a list of resources) for more information. Custody Modification: If you want to change your custody arrangement you may file a modification petition. Susan Pearlstein is the Senior Attorney, Violence Prevention and Policy Strategist at PLA. Standardized court forms for child custody proceedings may be obtained on this page of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania’s website. Click for instructions for filing a Petition for Custody and Support of Minor Children. Roberto Westbrook / Blend Images / Getty Images. The attorneys at Reinherz & Reinherz Law Offices have helped many individuals and couples navigate their divorce, and are available to provide you with legal representation and guidance as well. Determine the rules and procedures of your specific state court. You’ll need to seek both legal and physical custody of your children, because legal custody gives you the decision-making authority, while physical custody ensures your … Consider seeking the assistance of a qualified family court attorney who can help you navigate the court system and may even be able to have your case heard at an earlier time. Effective January 1, 2021, the filing fee will increase to $179.75. The Women's Law Project offers a variety of self-help materials in the area of Family Law. A custody order is a written order signed by a judge. Explain to the clerk that you're interested in initiating a child custody suit. The court clerk will give you an index number, which will be your case ID. A judge can award either sole or joint custody. By using Verywell Family, you accept our, Overcoming the Obstacles of Gaining Sole Custody of Your Kids, What to Do When You Fear for Your Kids' Safety During Visitation, Use These Pro Se Custody Tips When Representing Yourself in Court, How Parents Can Find a Good Attorney for Child Custody Hearings, Your Most Commons Child Custody Questions, Answered, How to Successully File for Child Custody Without a Lawyer, Understand the Different Types of Child Custody Before Settling in Court, Tips to Help Single Fathers Get Child Custody, How to Win a Child Custody Battle in Court, 10 Tips to Help Fathers Win Custody of a Child, Strategies for How to Appear in Court for Winning Full Child Custody, Prepare to Answer Different Questions at Your Child Custody Hearing, How to Have Alternatives and Modify Your Family's Visitation Schedule. Court Filing Cost: It costs $90.38 to file. A clerk can explain rules and procedures to you. Arly Smith-Pearson is the supervisor of the Drexel Civil Litigation Field Clinic. The Philadelphia paternity lawyers at The Sadek and Cooper Law Offices may be able to help you with your custody claims, paternity claims, or other fathers’ rights issues in Pennsylvania. Free profiles of 116 top rated Philadelphia, Pennsylvania custody & visitation attorneys on Super Lawyers. For example, a custody order might define the amount of time someone may spend with a child or who gets to make major decision about the child. Use the guide below to explore a step-by-step process for filing for child custody. See the First Judicial District's court forms page for PDF court forms for use in custody, support, and protection from abuse cases. Please note that the law librarian, staff of the Beaver County Law Library, staff of the Juvenile Services. Get expert tips to help your kids stay healthy and happy. This video explains what happens at a child custody hearing, describes the "best interest of the child" standard, and gives you tips on how to obtain the custody order you want. Be nice to the clerk. Available in Spanish. To establish a custody and visitation agreement with your child’s other parent or guardian, you must complete the filing process in your state to obtain a court order. As a parent involved with the suit, you will not be able to serve your ex. Complete all of the court documents and bring them to the courthouse. When a parent decides to file, it may be difficult to determine where to go and with whom to speak. Produced by the University of Pennsylvania Law School with assistance from attorneys at PLA. A variety of self-help materials in the Trial Division-Civil found HERE care, control, guard, keep... If … someone interested in filing for emergency custody, it may be held in contempt court. Cost: it costs $ 90.38 to file, it will cost an extra $ 30 page... 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