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?
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:
- The present and past abuse / neglect by a party or member of the party’s household,
- Whether there is a continued risk of harm to the children, and
- 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.
Mat Camp is a former Lexicon Services Online Editor, who focused on providing a comprehensive look into all aspects of the divorce experience. On MensDivorce.com, he concentrated on issues, such as parenting time, custodial rights, mediation, the division of assets, and so much more.
Mr. Camp used the wealth of experience of Cordell & Cordell attorneys to bring tangible answers to reader questions in Ask a Lawyer articles, as well as offer a step by step process through the divorce experience with Cordell & Cordell Co-Founder and Principal Partner Joseph E. Cordell in Divorce 101: A Guide for Men.
Mr. Camp used thorough research to highlight the challenging reality that those who go through divorce or child custody issues face. He helped foster the continued success of the Men’s Divorce Survival Guide, the Men’s Divorce Podcast, and the Men’s Divorce YouTube series “Attorney Bites.”