How Can I File For Emergency Custody Of My Children?

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I have summer custody for several weeks during the summer, after which they typically go back to their mother for the school year.

However, my ex has been blowing off setting up a return time since she is, “enjoying her freedom.” I think she may be an alcoholic, and I am genuinely worried about the safety of my kids when they are with her.

How can I get custody?

emergency custody
Pennsylvania divorce attorney Jaimie Collins


In Pennsylvania, if a parent wishes to relocate a child out of state to live with him or her primarily, the relocating party must have either:

  1. The consent of every individual who has custody rights to the children, or
  2. Court approval.

If the mother of the children consents to your keeping the children, be sure to get this consent in writing in the event that she files for relief with the court at a later date.

If she does not consent, then you would need to file a complaint for custody if there is no court order in place, or a petition to modify if there is an existing custody order, along with a request for relocation.

Whether a relocation is granted in Pennsylvania depends on factors such as how the relocation will affect the child, using some of the same factors as in a “best interests of the child” analysis.

However, it also takes into consideration the feasibility of preserving the non-relocating party’s visitation time and the reasons and motivation of each party regarding the proposed relocation.

Additionally, if the opposing party presents a risk of harm to the children or they have not been enrolled in school and are of school age, a party can file an emergency custody petition to request that the court modify/enter a custody order.

In Pennsylvania, 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 are among the factors taken into consideration during a best interests of the children analysis.

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

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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