Thank you, R.
If she lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, then this is where the original jurisdiction for the child is in. 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5401 et seq
. Ergo, one would have to file where the child lives.
The way that this works is in the following:STEPS IN COURT
1) Parent files the original petition for custody and with it, requests an ex parte
order to have her remain in jurisdiction while the matter is heard;
2) The ex parte
matter is heard on day of filing or soon after, without her even being served. If the Court sees this as an emergency, it will grant the ex parte restraining order
and possibly emergency custody;
3) She is served formally (she can be notified prior of the ex parte order as well, of course) and then there will be a hearing down the line for temporary orders
4) At the temporary orders, the Court will extend/drop/modify the restraining order of her leaving and any emergency custody, as well as assign temporary custody;
5) A few months down the line, the final hearing on the merits (i.e. trial) will determine the final custody decision.CUSTODY DETERMINATION
The Court decides on custody based on the rule of thumb of "best interest of the child
." This includes, but is not limited to, general stability of the parent, financial stability, indoctrination of the child in the current school and environment, household condition and living condition of the child, other persons living in the house, etc. The courts generally do not like to split the custody 50/50 since this is hard on the child unless both parents agree and as for this.
One parent usually becomes the custodian and the other parent becomes the "visiting" parent which is generally one day a week, every other weekend, and alternating holidays. The nuanced points of the custody can either be decided by the parties or the Court, if the parties cannot come to an agreement.
Of course, that is the standard order of possession. That order can be modified if both parties agree or if the Court finds that it is an extraordinary situation.SUMMARY
Ergo, someone in your situation may wish to file for an ex-parte custody order as part of the petition to establish custody. An attorney is recommended
- this is not something that should be attempted one's self simply due to the nuanced legal steps that need to be taken. May I recommend the Philadelphia Bar Association's Lawyer Referral and Information Service - here
. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Best of luck.
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