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Roger, Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 30903
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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As you can see, this has been a very prolonged and nasty issue.

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As you can see, this has been a very prolonged and nasty issue. Mother continues to get attorneys free of charge.Last hearing in Sept 2012, a new judge to this case, and one with only 2 years on the bench, based his decision on a change in Jan. 2011 to PA. custody guidelines. He felt mother was capable of giving same care to girls, and there are 2 half-siblings with mom. Judge ordered custody be changed to mom having primary 3 days after this school year ends. The first judge in the first hearing wrote an opinion, which was very scathing of mom, and found she had used the girls as a weapon to cause hurt to their father and the rest of the family. Four months after first hearing he gave her only supervised visits, after her repeated calls to Children and Youth, even claiming molestation. Children and Youth notified her they would persue legal action against her if she made any more malicious and false calls and allegations. At the first hearing I provided documentation from school and pediatrician that proved I had been acting 'in loco parentis" for at least the immediate prior 3 years till the hearing. As far as the court is concerned the girls have been in my home under my care for 9 years as of February 2013. I had primary custody until 1/2011, then recieved sole custody, until the hearing in September whicih produced the new order. Also in the order, mom was to arrange parenting classes and set up and pay for a parenting coordinator. She refuses to do this. She was reproted to DHS in Philadelphia for emotional abuse of the older girl by a School Social Worker, but DHS doesnt investigate if there is no injury or neglect. We are in Bucks Co. and are told since mom lives in Phila. and the girls visit her there that county has to investigate. The judge was mde aware of this but since there was no investigation did not consider it. He said the girls are now being negatively affected and thinks it will end if they priXXXXX XXXXXve with mom. They are both learning Disabled students and recieve services, in a pretty good school district and he thinks they would be fine transitioning to schools in North Phila. The oldest starts high school next year and is adamant she won't live with mom. She is 13 and spoke to the judge twice, also to police twic when she refused to go on a weekend visit. She told 3 different officers her mother is neglectful and abusive and she is afraid of her and the family members and friends she has around. The oldest has told her pediatrician and many others about mom, and doctor is now going to call our county services. My granddaughter gets migraines, and suffers fron anxiety. Mom now works full time, and on weekends girls are at her house they watch the 3 and 5 year old. Mom works 11pm to 7 am then sleeps all day. The judge told her the girls were not to be used as babysitters. Mom told judge her schedule is flexible, so why does she work on the 2 weekends a month the girls are there? I know we have to go to court again and reverse this order, we have already spent over $100000 but have no choice. I have read about the Gruber case, when a party wants a change of custody and jurisdiction( mom lives in a diiferent county)and it states the move must enhance and better the lives of the children. Would this case apply, and I have also read PA Supreme court which has stated half-siblings bear no weight, if the children have never lived together prior to them being separated. The last time my attorney did a horrible jog. He felt since the girls had been here so long and mom could not better their lives it would be easy. What do i need to prove to reverse this new order?
Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Family Law litigation attorney. Thanks for your question.

Are you looking to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court or are you wanting to file a motion to modify the current custody order?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We are going to file a motion to modify this newest order

Ok. Thanks for the information. As you know, a court's paramount concern in child custody cases is the best interest of the child. A custody order is modifiable without proof of a substantial change in circumstances where such a modification is in the best interests of the child. McMillen v. McMillen, 602 A2d 845 (Pa. S.Ct 1992). Thus, your burden is only to show that it is in the best interest of the children to be placed with you. Given the time you have had the children, the fact that they have an established household environment and school environment, and given the actions of the mother over the years, it would seem that you have a very good position to claim custody.

As for the Gruber test, it has been incorporated into the ten factors enumerated in 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5337(h), which provides:

In determining whether to grant a proposed relocation, the court shall consider the following factors, giving weighted consideration to those factors which affect the safety of the child:

(1) The nature, quality, extent of involvement and duration of the child's relationship with the party proposing to relocate and with the nonrelocating party, siblings and other significant persons in the child's life.

(2) The age, developmental stage, needs of the child and the likely impact the relocation will have on the child's physical, educational and emotional development, taking into consideration any special needs of the child.

(3) The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the nonrelocating party and the child through suitable custody arrangements, considering the logistics and financial circumstances of the parties.

(4) The child's preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child.

(5) Whether there is an established pattern of conduct of either party to promote or thwart the relationship of the child and the other party.

(6) Whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for the party seeking the relocation, including, but not limited to, financial or emotional benefit or educational opportunity.

(7) Whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for the child, including, but not limited to, financial or emotional benefit or educational opportunity.

(8) The reasons and motivation of each party for seeking or opposing the relocation.

(9) The present and past abuse committed by a party or member of the party's household and whether
there is a continued risk of harm to the child or an abused party.

(10) Any other factor affecting the best interest of the child.

You can certainly use these factors to claim that you should be granted custody as well.

As for the siblings, the judge can consider that when determining custody, but it only has a real impact if they have an established relationship, which it sounds that they are not. Also, the fact that they are half-siblings should minimize the relevance of there being siblings.

I hope this answers your questions, but if you have others, please REPLY and I'll be glad to respond. Thanks.
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