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I have a question about Pennsylvania child custody laws. His…

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I have a question about Pennsylvania child custody laws

Lawyer's Assistant: Who currently has legal custody?

His mother and I are separated and we have an agreement outside of courts currently

Lawyer's Assistant: Is there a child custody order in place?

No

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

It’s come to light that my sons mother has a drug problem

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Answered in 16 minutes by:
6/28/2018
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 14,316
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
Verified

Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today.

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only. What specific questions did you have? I have an idea about your situation, but I don’t want to make any assumptions.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Hi here is the situation: my sons mother and I have an out of court custody agreement. I just found out she has a pretty bad addiction to pain pills. The police were called to her house last night and I took my son because she was almost incapacitated. I talked to her today and she agreed to go to outpatient rehab starting Monday. My question is what rights if any do I have if she doesn’t follow through? I don’t feel safe with him there.

I'm sorry to hear about that. Would you be willing to go to court and get a court order regarding custody?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
If she doesn’t follow through with rehab, yes. If that happens, how long does that take? What legal action can I take immediately to take control of the situation?

I see. So, I think that there are some important things for you to know if she doesn't follow through; it's not just custody, but also financial.

Custody, visitation, and child support are always difficult issues to sort out, but thankfully the courts are there to help settle the score on the issue. If you are looking to modify custody, visitation, or child support, you’ll have to go through the court system. It typically starts with filing a petition, which is just a request through the courts to get a change in one of those things. Once you fill out the petition, you should make three copies: one to you, one for the court, and one to the other party. It is critical to understand that the courts are bound to look at what is in the best interests of the child above all else. This means they will look into who and how the child’s health, education, welfare, and safety are best going to be served. Sometimes, this can be inconvenient for one parent, but because the kids cannot protect themselves, the court takes it upon itself to protect them. The bright side is that if you understand this in advance, then you will have an edge when you are dealing with the other side because you’ll be seeing this process through the court’s eyes. The point here is to get an order from the judge that helps the parties know exactly how much time and money they must spend with the child(ren).

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Regardless, once you have filed the documents, someone who is over 18 and not a party to the case will serve the document on the other party. They will have a chance to respond to the petition and they will serve you as well. The court will likely set a date where they will either order mediation or they will make a decision at that time. If you can’t agree at mediation or if the court decides it needs more info, then it is likely you would go to a trial where you can put on witnesses, provide your own testimony, and let the judge make a ruling after that. Those are less likely scenarios, but they come up on occasion.

The order is enforceable from the moment it is entered and if a party fails to abide by the order, then they are going to be held in contempt of court. This may be the encouragement that she needs to get her act together in the meantime.

Because I value your input, I would like to know what other questions did you have for me today that I can help out with:-)?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
more or less, if things take a turn for the worse, there isn’t much legal action I can take for an immediate result?

No, you absolutely can. In fact, if things take a turn for the worse, you can actually get emergency custody over the kids if you feel like they are in danger. You just have to go through the court process to make it official. Does that make sense?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
that does. I worry that because of where she lives, courts are used to this and will be numb to my complaint. Bad area of town. I know they are bound to do their due diligence, but I worry none the less. Last Q: if I file for custody, typically how long do courts take to get the process going?

I can see what you mean . If you stay focused on how it hurts your child, then that'll take you and her out of the equation and give you an edge.

If you file for custody, the process varies greatly by county. If it is an emergency situation, you can get a hearing within a week, but most of the time, it may take 2-3 weeks before a hearing on the matter, if not longer.

Did you have any other questions for me today? If not, were you satisfied with my service today:-)?

Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 14,316
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
Verified
Legal Eagle and 87 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
No thanks for your time

You bet!

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