What Can I Do If My Ex Is Providing An Unsafe Environment For My Kids?

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I alternate custody with my ex week by week, and when I picked up my kids most recently, my youngest daughter’s hair was infested with lice.

Additionally, they were both complaining of having bed bugs.

Their mother is aware of the situation but has done nothing to fix it; do I have to send my kids back to her?

Pennsylvania divorce attorney Jaimie Collins


In Pennsylvania, if your ex or their home environment presents a risk of harm to the child, you can file an emergency custody petition to request that the court modify a custody order.

This can suspend the opposing party’s custody rights and /or require a home investigation until it is determined that there is no risk of harm to the children.

Factors taken into consideration during a best interests of the children analysis include:

  1. The present and past abuse / neglect by a party or member of the party’s household,
  2. Whether there is a continued risk of harm to the children, and
  3. Which party can better provide adequate physical safeguards and supervision of the children.

In cases where there is a reasonable risk of harm, a parent may withhold the children from opposing party until an emergency hearing has been held.

You should consult with an attorney barred in your state to discuss the facts of your case, your jurisdiction’s approach to custody and your state’s approach to emergency custody matters.

As action should be taken in your case at the earliest opportunity, I would urge you to schedule a consultation with an attorney barred in your state as soon as possible.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than tips on your situation, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Pennsylvania divorce lawyer Jaimie Collins, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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