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ANDREA,, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  25 yrs Family Law, Real Estate & Business Law, Criminal Defense, Immigration, Employment Law
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I need someone that is experienced in Pennsylvania, I am located

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I need someone that is experienced in Pennsylvania, I am located in Erie County. This question is concerning a custody order and a Protection from abuse order.

I have two children, my older son obtained a PFA order against his mother, the PFA order states that it shall supersede any prior order relating to custody. The previous custody order obviously concerns both children but according to the PFA, the PFA supersedes this custody order concerning my older son. Ok now we went into a custody conciliation conference concerning my younger son. The conciliator really didn't make any major changes conerning my younger son, however most of the previous custody order was recopied with a new date on it. To me this seems like more of a clerical error more than anything else because the conciliator did acknowledge the PFA order.

So now we have a new custody order or at least a new date on it, and we have a PFA order regarding my older son that is still in effect. The opposing attorney is trying to enforce parts of the new custody order on my older son because of the new date on it, while the PFA order is still in effect. The custody order states shared legal and physical custody of both children and the PFA order gives me (dad) complete legal and physical custody of the older child due to abuse.

The only thing that I am certain on is that In order to modify or terminate the PFA order I must file a modification through the PFA coordinator and request a hearing for modification or termination which I clearly did not do. Is this new custody order even legal regarding my older son because they are trying to hold me in contempt of court regarding the newly dated custody order in regards XXXXX XXXXX older son, and if not under which point of law does this fall under, I need some kind of defense for this. Or should I file for a modification of the PFA to get this resolved.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  ANDREA, replied 6 years ago.

Hi, and Welcome to JustAnswer


Thank you for question, My name isXXXXX am an Attorney licensed to practice in New York and Pennsylvania and do most of my work in Philadelphia and Delaware Counties.


The Answer I am providing is information only and does not constitute the practice of law in jurisdictions where I am not licensed to practice. JustAnswer's policy and State Bar restrictions prohibit any attorney-client relationship, giving legal advice and client representation though this forum.






As you know, a Protection from Abuse Order is signed by a Judge. A Custody Conciliator makes determinations in the form of recommendations which a Judge later signs and is entered as an Order of the Court. At best, XXXXX XXXXX is an attorney, and certainly does not have the authority or the power to enter any kind of Order contradicting or overriding an Order signed by the Judge. Although the Conciliator saw the PFA, they apparently either did not read it, or did not understand its import.


PFAs are not easily modified or terminated by the Court. They are usually left in tact and in effect until they expire according to the dates which the Judge has entered on the PFA. More importantly, you will not be able to modify the PFA signed by a Judge, so that it can be read together with the recommendations of the Conciliator.


Your recourse here is to file a Petition to Modify the Custody proposed by the Conciliator so that it does not appear to supersede the Judge's PFA. You would allege facts in your Petition to Modify how this result came about. Just recite the facts chronologically -


On the ____ day of ____, 2010 (or whatever year), the Honorable Judge _______ entered a Protection from Abuse Order;


On the _____ day of _____, the parties attended a Custody Conciliation Conference, during which the Conciliator _________


The Custody recommendations of the Conciliator conflict with the Protection from Abuse Order entered by the Honorable Judge __________




Wherefore, Petitioner ________________ prays this Honorable Court Modify the Custody recommendations of the Conciliator so that the two may be read together without any conflicting provisions.


Of course, if the Conciliator's recommendations have been signed by a Judge and they are now an Order of the Court, you would change the above language to reflect the correct documentaiton.


As for holding you in Contempt of Court, I think they are using scare tactics. If the PFA was entered against your son's mother and she is the one to stay away from your son and refrain from any physical or mental abuse, and the PFA had nothing to do with you, how could you possibly be held in contempt?


You have nothing to worry about, there is no way that you could even remotely be held in Contempt of any Court Order, let alone a PFA that has nothing to do with you.



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Expert:  ANDREA, replied 6 years ago.
I know that you were under the impression that the PFA had to be modified or terminated, which actually, is not the case. Is there anything in my Answer which needs further clarification ?

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