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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience as practicing attorney
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If two individuals came onto my property unannounced trying

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If two individuals came onto my property unannounced trying to serve papers on their own without using mail or law enforcement, two individuals who have a history of telephone harassment towards me, can I, SHOULD I, file for a restraining order...Up until this point they had no idea where I lived. The papers regarded an upcoming child custody hearing. The individuals were the natural mother and her violent boyfriend coming to my home at night, where my boyfriend and his son live. The 2 year old son is the subject of the bitter custody hearing.
Dear JACUSTOMER - The parties in a court case cannot serve their own papers and the papers can only be served by persons appointed by or approved by the court. So you can definitely file for a restraining order and you can file criminal trespassing charges if the police will accept the filing. Many times in domestic disputes the police will simply say it is a civil matter so you then have to file for a restraining order and then if that is violated the trespassers can be arrested for contempt of the court order. You don not have to put up with this type of activity.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your response. I was advised by the grandmother not to do this because it may affect a potential "shared custody" outcome. I was under the impression that we could just pick a more neutral meeting place to exchange the child should the father be awarded shared custody. My concern is that now that these individuals know my address, which they received from the petiton papers, I just smell trouble! In my gut, I expect more announced visits, regardless of the outcome of the hearing.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your response. I was advised by the grandmother not to do this because it may affect a potential "shared custody" outcome. I was under the impression that we could just pick a more neutral meeting place to exchange the child should the father be awarded shared custody. My concern is that now that these individuals know my address, which they received from the petiton papers, I just smell trouble! In my gut, I expect more unannounced visits, regardless of the outcome of the hearing.

I see no reason this would negatively affect your position at the hearing. If anything it would affect the other side since the court would see that there was a tendency for bad behavior. You need to protect yourself and file for the restraining order.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.


I failed to mention that even though I live in WV, the trespassers reside in PA...Instead of sending the papers by registered mail, they chose to drive 1.5 hours to my home, where they know they are not welcome and would be received negatively, and "serve" me themselves. I called Allegheny County Family Court (PA) to mention the incident. I was told that they are allowed to serve papers themselves, although they had the option to use mail. People I speak to in WV have all said it is illegal to serve your own papers in WV. Now that the incident has passed (they appeared Jan. 31 on my property), do I have any legal recourse if they were in fact tresspassing, if it was in fact illegal in this state (WV) for them to have served the papers themselves? Should this be brought up during the custody hearing (Feb. 19) in PA? At this point, all i have is a 911 call, and the business card of a state trooper who made a note in his "daily log" that they were asked to leave my property.


 

You can try to file trespassing charges with the police of they will accept them. I seriously doubt that the judge in the custody case will want to hear about a trespassing case since it is not relevant to the issue of custody but you can certainly mention the incident as an example of their behavior.
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