Errata - CHILD CUSTODY - Statute Corrections

Corrections to Statutes and Rules:

-statutory section 5329.1

-statutory section 5602

-statutory section 5603

-statutory section 5621

-statutory section 5622

-statutory section 5623

-statutory section 5624

-statutory section 5625

-Rule 1915.10

-Rule 1915.15

-Rule 1930.1

  • 5329.1.  Consideration of child abuse and involvement with protective services.

(a)  Information sharing.--In accordance with section 6340(a)(5.1) (relating to release of information in confidential reports), where a party seeks any form of custody, subject to the examination of the parties, the court shall determine:

(1)  With respect to child abuse under Chapter 63 (relating to child protective services) or a child who is a victim of a crime under 18 Pa.C.S. (relating to crimes and offenses) which would constitute abuse under Chapter 63:

(i)  Whether the child is the subject of an indicated or founded report of child abuse.

(ii)  Whether a party or a member of the party's household has been identified as the perpetrator in an indicated or founded report of child abuse.

(iii)  The date and circumstances of the child abuse.

(iv)  The jurisdiction where the child abuse investigation took place.

(2)  With respect to child protective services or general protective services under Chapter 63:

(i)  Whether a party or a member of a party's household has been provided services.

(ii)  The type of services provided.

(iii)  The circumstances surrounding the provision of services.

(iv)  The status of services.

(v)  The date the services were provided.

(vi)  The jurisdiction where the services were provided.

(b)  Cooperation.--The following apply:

(1)  The Department of Public Welfare and the county children and youth social service agency shall fully cooperate with the court and assist the court in fulfilling its duties under this section.

(2)  The Department of Public Welfare and the county children and youth social service agency shall fully cooperate with the governing authority in order to implement the provisions of this section.

(3)  The governing authority shall develop procedures to implement the provisions of this section.

(4)  As used in this subsection, the term "governing authority" shall have the meaning given to it in 42 Pa.C.S. § 102 (relating to definitions).

5329.1

(Dec. 18, 2013, P.L.1167, No.107, eff. Jan. 1, 2014)

 

2013 Amendment.  Act 107 added section 5329.1. See section 6 of Act 107 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

References in Text.  The Department of Public Welfare, referred to in this section, was redesignated as the Department of Human Services by Act 132 of 2014.

Cross References.  Section 5329.1 is referred to in sections 5328, 6340 of this title; section 6307 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure).

 

  • 5602.  Definitions.

The following words and phrases when used in this chapter shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Alternate."  A person with all the rights, responsibilities and qualifications of a standby guardian who shall become a standby guardian only in the event that the currently designated standby guardian is unable or refuses to fulfill his obligation.

"Attending physician."  A physician who has primary responsibility for the treatment and care of the designator. If physicians share responsibility, another physician is acting on the attending physician's behalf or no physician has primary responsibility, any physician who is familiar with the designator's medical condition may act as an attending physician under this chapter.

"Coguardian."  A person who along with a parent shares physical or legal custody, or both, of a child.

"Consent."  A written authorization signed by the designator in the presence of two witnesses who shall also sign the writing. The witnesses must be 18 years of age or older and not named in the designation.

"Court."  Family Court Division or domestic relations section of a court of common pleas unless otherwise provided by local rules of court.

"Debilitation."  A person's chronic and substantial inability as a result of a physically incapacitating disease or injury to care for a dependent minor.

"Designation."  A written document naming the standby guardian or temporary guardian. A parent, a legal custodian or a legal guardian may designate an alternate standby guardian in the same writing.

"Designator."  A parent, a legal custodian or a legal guardian who appoints a standby guardian or temporary guardian.

"Determination of debilitation."  A written finding made by an attending physician which states that the designator suffers from a physically incapacitating disease or injury. No identification of the illness in question is required.

"Determination of incapacity."  A written finding made by an attending physician which states the nature, extent and probable duration of the designator's mental or organic incapacity.

"Family member."  A grandparent, aunt, uncle or adult sibling of a minor.

"Incapacity."  A chronic and substantial inability, resulting from a mental or organic impairment, to understand the nature and consequences of decisions concerning the care of the designator's dependent minor and a consequent inability to care for the minor.

"Standby guardian."  A person named by a designator to assume the duties of coguardian or guardian of a minor and whose authority becomes effective upon the incapacity, debilitation and consent, or death of the minor's parent.

"Temporary guardian."  A family member appointed by a court for a limited period as a guardian of the minor when the minor's custodial parent has entered a rehabilitation facility for treatment of drug or alcohol addiction or has been subject to emergency medical intervention due to abuse of drugs or alcohol.

"Triggering event."  A specified occurrence stated in the designation which empowers a standby guardian to assume the powers, duties and responsibilities of guardian or coguardian.

5602

(June 22, 2000, P.L.443, No.59, eff. 60 days; Oct. 23, 2018, P.L.583, No.88, eff. 60 days)

 

  • 5603.  Scope.

The provisions of Chapter 53 (relating to custody) and 20 Pa.C.S. Ch. 25 (relating to wills) shall apply to standby guardians, coguardians, guardians, temporary guardians and any alternates unless otherwise specified in this chapter. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to deprive any parent, custodial or noncustodial, of legal parental rights. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to relieve any parent, custodial or noncustodial, of a duty to support a child under the provisions of Chapter 43 (relating to support matters generally).

5603

(Oct. 23, 2018, P.L.583, No.88, eff. 60 days)

References in Text.  Former Chapter 53 (Custody), referred to in this section, is repealed. The subject matter is now contained in Chapter 53 (Child Custody).

 

SUBCHAPTER C

TEMPORARY GUARDIANSHIP

 

Sec.

  1.  Designation.
  2.  Petition for approval of designation.
  3.  Authority of temporary guardian.
  4.  Period of temporary guardianship.
  5.  Termination of temporary guardianship.

 

Enactment.  Subchapter C was added October 23, 2018, P.L.583, No.88, effective in 60 days.

5621

  • 5621.  Designation.

(a)  General rule.--Except as provided in subsection (b), a custodial parent may designate a temporary guardian by means of a written designation unless the minor has another parent or adoptive parent:

(1)  whose parental rights have not been terminated or relinquished;

(2)  whose whereabouts are known; and

(3)  who is willing and able to make and carry out the day-to-day child-care decisions concerning the minor.

(b)  Exception where other parent consents.--Notwithstanding subsection (a), a parent, legal custodian or legal guardian may designate a temporary guardian with the consent of the other parent.

(c)  Contents.--

(1)  A designation of a temporary guardianship shall identify the custodial parent, the minor or minors, any other parent, the temporary guardian and the triggering event or events upon which a named temporary guardian shall become a coguardian or guardian. The designation shall also include the signed consent of the temporary guardian and the signed consent of any other parent or an indication why the other parent's consent is not necessary.

(2)  The designation shall be signed by the designating parent in the presence of two witnesses who are 18 years of age or older and not otherwise named in the designation, who shall also sign the designation.

(3)  A parent may also but need not designate an alternate in the designation.

(4)  A designation may but need not be in the following form:

(Insert name of designator) do hereby appoint

(Insert name, address and telephone number of temporary

guardian) as the temporary guardian of

(Insert name(s) of minor(s) to take effect upon

‌ (Date).

I am the mother/father/other to‌

(Insert name(s) of minor(s)).

(Insert name(s) of other parent(s) of minor(s)) is the

father/mother/other of ‌

(Insert name(s) of minor(s)).

By this designation, I am granting‌

(Insert name of temporary guardian) the authority to act for

90 days following the occurrence of‌

as a coguardian with me or as guardian of my minor

child(ren).

It is my intention to retain full parental rights to the extent consistent with my condition and to retain the authority to revoke the temporary guardianship if I so choose.

This designation is made after careful reflection, while I am of sound mind.

(Date)

(Designator's signature)

(Witness's signature)

(Witness's signature)

(Number and Street)

(Number and Street)

(City, State and Zip Code)

(City, State and Zip Code)

If applicable:  I, ,

 

(Insert name of other parent)

hereby consent to this designation.

(Date)

(Signature of other parent)

(Address of other parent)

 

I, ‌

(Insert name of temporary guardian), hereby accept my

nomination as temporary guardian of‌

(Insert minor(s)'s name(s)). I understand that my rights and responsibilities toward the minor child(ren) named above will become effective upon(Date)

I further understand that in order to continue as temporary guardian for the child(ren), I must file a petition with the court of common pleas within 30 days of the order granting the petition for temporary guardianship.

(Date)                      (Signature of temporary guardian)

NOTARY SEAL

 

I hereby revoke the above temporary guardianship agreement.

‌(Parent signature)

‌(Date)

NOTARY SEAL

 

 

  • 5622.  Petition for approval of designation.

(a)  General rule.--Except as provided in subsection (b), a petition for court approval of a designation under this chapter may be made when an individual who is a custodial parent of a minor has entered a rehabilitation facility for treatment of a drug or alcohol addiction or has been subject to emergency medical intervention due to abuse of drugs or alcohol by filing with the court a copy of the designation.

(b)  Exception where designation has not been entered.--If a custodial parent has been subject to emergency medical intervention due to abuse of drugs or alcohol and a written designation has not been executed, a family member shall petition the court to hold a hearing to be designated temporary guardian. The petition, which shall require the notarized signature of the petitioner, shall be provided by the court in the following form:

Petition for Temporary Guardianship without Consent of Parent

I, ‌

(Insert Name, Address and Telephone Number of Family Member Petitioning for Temporary Guardianship and Relationship to Minor), HEREBY DECLARE MY INTENT TO BE APPOINTED TEMPORARY GUARDIAN OF ‌

(Insert Name(s), Address(es) and Telephone Number(s) of Minor(s) for whom the appointment of temporary guardian is being sought) AS A RESULT OF EMERGENCY MEDICAL INTERVENTION RESULTING FROM ABUSE OF DRUGS OR ALCOHOL BY‌

‌(Insert Name, Address and Telephone Number),

FATHER/MOTHER TO‌

(Insert Name(s) of Minor(s)), ON‌

(Insert approximate date of the event).

I HAVE NOTIFIED THE CHILD(REN)'S OTHER PARENT,‌

(Insert Name, Address and Telephone Number), OF MY INTENT TO PETITION THIS COURT FOR TEMPORARY GUARDIANSHIP.

I UNDERSTAND THAT FILING THIS PETITION DOES NOT REVOKE THE PARENTAL RIGHTS OF THE MINOR'S PARENT(S) NOR DOES IT GRANT ME ANY PARENTAL RIGHTS.

I UNDERSTAND THAT MY RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES AS A TEMPORARY GUARDIAN TOWARD THE MINOR CHILD(REN) NAMED ABOVE WILL BECOME EFFECTIVE UPON THE COMPLETION OF A HEARING AND RENDERING OF A DECISION BY THE COURT.

I UNDERSTAND THAT FILING FEES AND OTHER COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH THESE PROCEEDINGS MAY BE WAIVED IF I DEMONSTRATE THE FEES AND OTHER COSTS WOULD CONSTITUTE A FINANCIAL BURDEN TO ME AND MY FAMILY.

I HEREBY SWEAR OR AFFIRM THAT THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN IS TRUE AND CORRECT TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE.

(DATE)

(SIGNATURE OF PETITIONER)

(c)  Notice.--

(1)  The court shall notify a person named in the designation within 10 days of the filing of the petition and of any hearing on the petition.

(2)  If a designation has not been executed, the petitioner shall notify the custodial parent or parents, noncustodial parent or adoptive parent within 10 days of the filing of the petition and of any hearing on the petition.

(3)  If the petition alleges that a noncustodial parent cannot be located, that parent shall be notified in accordance with the notice provisions of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure in custody matters. No notice is necessary to a parent whose parental rights have previously been terminated or relinquished.

(d)  Jurisdiction.--For purposes of determining jurisdiction under this chapter, the provisions of Chapter 54 (relating to uniform child custody jurisdiction and enforcement) shall apply.

(e)  Presumptions.--In a proceeding for judicial appointment of a temporary guardian, a designation shall constitute a rebuttable presumption that the designated temporary guardian is capable of serving as coguardian or guardian. When the designator is the sole surviving parent and when the parental rights of any noncustodial parent have been terminated or relinquished or when all parties consent to the designation, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that entry of the approval order is in the best interest of the child. In any case, if the court finds entry of the approval order to be in the best interests of the child, the court shall enter an order approving the designation petition.

(f)  Approval without hearing.--Approval of the designation without a hearing is permitted when the designator is the sole surviving parent, when the parental rights of a noncustodial parent have been terminated or relinquished or when all parties consent to entry of the approval order.

(g)  Hearing.--If a hearing is required, it shall be conducted in accordance with the proceedings under Chapters 53 (relating to child custody) and 54.

(h)  Court appearance.--If a designation has not been executed and a petition for temporary guardianship has been filed with the court by a family member, the custodial parent and noncustodial parent or adoptive parent shall appear in court in order to consent to or oppose the designation. If notice has been given under subsection (c)(3) and a noncustodial parent does not appear in court, it is presumed that consent to the designation has been granted.

(i)  Costs.--A court may waive filing fees and other costs upon application when the petitioner demonstrates the fees and other costs would constitute a financial burden upon the petitioner and the petitioner's family. There shall be a presumption of a financial burden if the income from all sources of the petitioner is less than 300% of the poverty level set by the Federal Government.

5622

Cross References.  Section 5622 is referred to in section 5623 of this title.

 

  • 5623.  Authority of temporary guardian.

(a)  Authority.--

(1)  The temporary guardian shall have the authority to act as coguardian or guardian upon a custodial parent entering into an alcohol or drug treatment facility or upon a court ordering the designation pursuant to hearing under subsection 5622(b) (relating to petition for approval of designation).

(2)  The commencement of the temporary guardian's authority to act as coguardian shall not itself divest the custodial parent of parental rights but shall confer upon the temporary guardian concurrent or shared custody of the child.

(3)  A coguardian shall assure frequent and continuing contact with and physical access to the child and shall further assure the involvement of the custodial parent, to the greatest extent possible, in the decision making on behalf of the child.

(4)  The commencement of a temporary guardian's authority under this subchapter shall not itself divest a parent or legal guardian of parental or guardianship rights.

(b)  Limitations on authority.--In addition to any other restrictions placed on a temporary guardian by the court, the temporary guardian may not:

(1)  remove the minor or permit the minor to be removed from the United States either permanently or temporarily without the consent of the custodial parent and the approval of the court; or

(2)  remove the minor from this Commonwealth absent a court order, which may only be issued after a hearing at which both parents and the minor shall have the right to be present.

 

  • 5624.  Period of temporary guardianship.

(a)  Initial period.--Temporary guardianship under this subchapter shall be limited to not more than 90 days from entry of the order of temporary guardianship.

(b)  Extension of guardianship.--Upon approval by the court or by written agreement of the temporary guardian and the parent who has entered a rehabilitation facility, temporary guardianship shall be extended for periods of up to 90 additional days.

(c)  Total period.--The total period of guardianship under this section shall not exceed 365 days.

 

  • 5625.  Termination of temporary guardianship.

(a)  Conditions.--A court shall terminate a temporary guardianship if any of the following exists:

(1)  The custodial parent demonstrates the basis for the temporary guardianship no longer exists.

(2)  The custodial parent and temporary guardian agree upon termination.

(3)  The temporary guardian files a petition with the court seeking termination.

(4)  Subject to subsection (b), a noncustodial or adoptive parent files a petition with the court seeking termination of the guardianship.

(5)  The temporary guardian or an individual who resides with the temporary guardian commits an offense that results in the temporary guardian or an individual who resides with the temporary guardian being identified as a perpetrator as defined in section 6303 (relating to definitions).

(b)  Mandatory considerations.--Before terminating an order for temporary guardianship under subsection (a)(4), the court shall consider if termination of the temporary guardianship is in the best interests of the minor if the individual's parental rights were previously terminated.

 

Rule 1915.10. Decision. Order

(a) The court may make the decision before the testimony has been transcribed. The court shall state the reasons for its decision on the record in open court or in a written opinion or order.

 

 

Note: See  23 Pa.C.S. § 5323(d).

 

 

(b) The court shall enter a custody order as a separate written order or in a separate section of a written opinion.

 

 

(1) The court’s order shall state sufficiently specific terms to enforce the order.

 

 

(2) If the court has made a finding that a party or child is at risk of harm, the court’s order shall include safety provisions for the endangered party’s or child’s protection.

 

 

(3) The court may order that the case caption use the parties’ initials rather than the parties’ names based on the sensitive nature of the facts in the case record and the child’s best interest.

 

 

Note: See Pa.R.C.P. No. 1930.1(a).

 

 

(4) When drafting a written opinion or order in an action having the parties’ initials in the case caption, the court shall:

 

 

(i) avoid using specific identifiers for people, places, or things that may indirectly reveal the child’s identity; and

 

 

(ii) use generalized identifiers when describing a child’s school, activities, affiliated organizations, or other similar terms.

 

 

(c) A custody order shall include a notice outlining the parties’ obligations under 23 Pa.C.S. § 5337, regarding a party’s intention to relocate with a minor child.

 

 

Note: See 23 Pa.C.S. § 5323(c) and Pa.R.C.P. No. 1915.17.

 

 

(d) A party may not file a motion for post-trial relief to an order of legal or physical custody.

 

 

(Adopted Dec. 10, 1981, effective July 1, 1982; effective date extended to Jan. 1, 1983 by order of June 25, 1982. Readopted and amended Nov. 8, 1982, effective Jan. 1, 1983. Amended Oct. 19, 1983, effective Jan. 1, 1984; Nov. 7, 1988, effective Jan. 1, 1989; Aug. 1, 2013, effective Sept. 3, 2013; June 3, 2019, effective Oct. 1, 2019; Oct. 22, 2020, effective Jan. 1, 2021).

 

EXPLANATORY COMMENT--2019

 

Subdivision (b) further defines and reinforces the requirements in 23 Pa.C.S. § 5323(e). Examples of safety provisions include, but are not limited to, supervised physical custody, a supervised or neutral custody exchange location, a neutral third-party present at custody exchanges, telephone or computer-facilitated contact with the child, no direct contact between the parties, third-party contact for cancellations, third-party transportation, and designating a secure, neutral location as respository for a child’s passport.

 

 

Additionally, subdivision (b) requires a court to enter a custody order as a separate written order or in a separate section of a written opinion. The subdivision also addresses the practice of orally entering a custody order on the record without formalizing the custody order in writing. In such circumstances, the parties’ only documentation of the custody order is a transcription of the oral record. In R.L.P. v. R.F.M., 110 A.3d 201 (Pa. Super. 2015), the Superior Court held that “in order to be sufficiently specific to be enforced, an order of custody must be entered as a separate written order, or as a separate section of a written opinion.” Id. at 206. Despite the Superior Court’s decision, the practice of placing custody orders on the record without subsequently entering a written order has continued, which has been problematic for enforcement and understanding of the agreement’s or order’s terms.

 

EXPLANATORY COMMENT--2021

 

Subdivision (b)(3) allows the court discretion to initialize a custody action’s case caption when the child’s privacy may be compromised by the sensitive nature of the facts in the case record. When the court determines that the case caption should be initialized, additional privacy safeguards are required under subdivision (b)(4).

 

 

Subdivision (b)(4) recognizes that inadvertent disclosure of the child’s identity and privacy may occur if the written custody order or opinion provides specific details of the child’s life (i.e., school, extracurricular activities). Subdivision (b)(4) requires that the court refrain from using specific identifiers; instead, the court should use general terms (i.e., high school, not John F. Kennedy High School). In circumstances in which name specificity is required, such as school choice, the court should consider a separate order for that issue.

 

 

Rule 1915.15. Form of Complaint. Caption. Order. Petition to Modify a Custody Order

 

(a) The complaint in a custody action shall be substantially in the following form:

 

 

(Caption)

 

 

COMPLAINT FOR CUSTODY

 

 

1. The plaintiff is,.........................................................................................................................................................................................

 

 

 

residing at

 

 

............................................................................................................................................................................................

 

 

 

 

(Street)

 

 

(City)

 

 

(Zip Code)

 

 

(County)

 

 

 

2. The defendant is,.....................................................................................................................................................................................

 

 

 

residing at

 

 

.............................................................................................................................................................................................

 

 

 

 

(Street)

 

 

(City)

 

 

(Zip Code)

 

 

(County)

 

 

 

 

3. Plaintiff seeks (shared legal custody) (sole legal custody) (partial physical custody) (primary physical custody) (shared physical custody) (sole physical custody) (supervised physical custody) of the following child(ren):

 

 

 

 

Name

 

 

Present Residence

 

 

Age

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The child (was)(was not) born out of wedlock.

 

 

The child is presently in the custody of _______, (Name) who resides at

 

 

 

 

(Street)

 

 

(City)

 

 

(State)

 

 

 

 

During the past five years, the child has resided with the following persons and at the following addresses:

 

 

(List All Persons)

 

 

(List All Addresses)

 

 

(Dates)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A parent of the child is __________, currently residing at __________.

 

 

This parent is (married) (divorced) (single).

 

 

A parent of the child is __________, currently residing at ____________________.

 

 

This parent is (married) (divorced) (single).

 

 

  1. Plaintiff’s relationship to the child is that of .......................................................................................................................................

 

 

Plaintiff currently resides with the following persons:

 

 

Name

 

 

Relationship

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Defendant’s relationship to the child is that of __________.

 

 

Defendant currently resides with the following persons:

 

 

Name

 

 

Relationship

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Plaintiff (has) (has not) participated as a party or witness, or in another capacity, in other litigation concerning the custody of the child in this or another court. The court, term and number, and its relationship to this action is:

 

 

Plaintiff (has) (has no) information of a custody proceeding concerning the child pending in a court of this Commonwealth or any other state. The court, term and number, and its relationship to this action is: _______________.

 

 

Plaintiff (knows) (does not know) of a person not a party to the proceedings who has physical custody of the child or claims to have custodial rights with respect to the child. The name and address of such person is: .........

 

 

  1. The child’s best interest and permanent welfare will be served by granting the relief requested because (set forth facts showing that the granting of the relief requested will be in the child’s best interest and permanent welfare):

 

 

...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

 

 

  1. Each parent whose parental rights to the child have not been terminated and the person who has physical custody of the child have been named as parties to this action. All other persons, named below, who are known to have or claim a right to custody of the child will be given notice of the pendency of this action and the right to intervene:

 

 

Name

 

 

Address

 

 

Basis of Claim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9.(a) If the plaintiff is seeking physical or legal custody of a child and is in loco parentis to the child, the plaintiff shall plead facts establishing standing under 23 Pa.C.S. § 5324(2).

 

 

(b) If the plaintiff is a grandparent seeking physical or legal custody of a grandchild and is not in loco parentis to the child, the plaintiff shall plead facts establishing standing under 23 Pa.C.S. § 5324(3).

 

 

(c) If the plaintiff is seeking physical or legal custody of a child and is not in loco parentis to the child, the plaintiff shall plead facts establishing standing pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. § 5324(4) and (5).

 

 

(d) If the plaintiff is a grandparent or great-grandparent seeking partial physical custody or supervised physical custody of a grandchild or great-grandchild, the plaintiff shall plead facts establishing standing under 23 Pa.C.S. § 5325.

 

 

  1. Plaintiff has attached the Criminal Record/Abuse History Verification form required pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. No. 1915.3-2.

 

 

Wherefore, Plaintiff requests the court to grant (shared legal custody) (sole legal custody) (partial physical custody) (primary physical custody) (shared physical custody) (sole physical custody) (supervised physical custody) of the child.

 

 

 

 

 

Plaintiff/Attorney for Plaintiff

 

 

 

 

I verify that the statements made in this Complaint are true and correct. I understand that false statements herein are made subject to the penalties of 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904 relating to unsworn falsification to authorities.

 

 

 

 

 

Plaintiff

 

 

 

 

Note: The form of complaint is appropriate if there is one plaintiff and one defendant and the custody of one child is sought or the custody of several children is sought and the information required by Paragraphs 3 to 7 is identical for all of the children. If there are more than two parties, the complaint should be appropriately adapted to accommodate them. If the custody of several children is sought and the information required is not identical for all of the children, the complaint should contain a separate paragraph for each child.

 

 

See Pa.R.C.P. No. 1930.1(b). This rule may require attorneys or unrepresented parties to file confidential documents and documents containing confidential information that are subject to the Case Records Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania.

 

 

(b) A petition to modify a custody order shall be substantially in the following form:

 

 

(Caption)

 

 

PETITION FOR MODIFICATION OF A CUSTODY ORDER

 

 

  1. Petitioner is __________ and resides at __________.

 

 

  1. Respondent is __________ and resides at __________.

 

 

  1. Petitioner respectfully represents that on __________, 20 ___ an Order of Court was entered for (shared legal custody) (sole legal custody) (partial physical custody) (primary physical custody) (shared physical custody) (sole physical custody) (supervised physical custody). A true and correct copy of the Order is attached.

 

 

  1. This Order should be modified because:

 

 

 

.

 

 

  1. Petitioner has attached the Criminal Record/Abuse History Verification form required pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. No. 1915.3-2.

 

 

WHEREFORE, Petitioner requests that the Court modify the existing Order because it will be in the best interest of the child(ren).

 

...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

 

 

 

 

(Attorney for Petitioner) (Petitioner)

 

 

 

 

I verify that the statements made in this petition are true and correct. I understand that false statements herein are made subject to the penalties of 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904 relating to unsworn falsification to authorities.

 

 

 

 

Date

 

 

Petitioner

 

 

 

 

Note: See Pa.R.C.P. No. 1930.1(b). This rule may require attorneys or unrepresented parties to file confidential documents and documents containing confidential information that are subject to the Case Records Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania.

 

 

(c) The order to be attached at the front of the complaint or petition for modification shall be substantially in the following form:

 

 

(Caption)

 

 

ORDER OF COURT

 

 

You, __________, (defendant) (respondent), have been sued in court to (OBTAIN)(MODIFY) (shared legal custody) (sole legal custody) (partial physical custody) (primary physical custody) (shared physical custody) (sole physical custody) (supervised physical custody) of the child(ren):

 

 

You are ordered to appear in person at ______(Address),

 

 

on ______(Day and Date), at ______(Time), ____.M., for

 

 

 

 

 

a conciliation or mediation conference.

 

 

 

 

 

a pretrial conference.

 

 

 

 

 

a hearing before the court.

 

 

 

 

If you fail to appear as provided by this order, an order for custody may be entered against you or the court may issue a warrant for your arrest.

 

 

You must file with the court a verification regarding any criminal record or abuse history regarding you and anyone living in your household on or before the initial in-person contact with the court (including, but not limited to, a conference with a conference officer or judge or conciliation) but not later than 30 days after service of the complaint or petition.

 

 

No party may make a change in the residence of any child which significantly impairs the ability of the other party to exercise custodial rights without first complying with all of the applicable provisions of 23 Pa.C.S. § 5337 and Pa.R.C.P. No. 1915.17 regarding relocation.

 

 

YOU SHOULD TAKE THIS PAPER TO YOUR LAWYER AT ONCE. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A LAWYER, GO TO OR TELEPHONE THE OFFICE SET FORTH BELOW. THIS OFFICE CAN PROVIDE YOU WITH INFORMATION ABOUT HIRING A LAWYER. IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO HIRE A LAWYER, THIS OFFICE MAY BE ABLE TO PROVIDE YOU WITH INFORMATION ABOUT AGENCIES THAT MAY OFFER LEGAL SERVICES TO ELIGIBLE PERSONS AT A REDUCED FEE OR NO FEE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Name)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Address)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Telephone)

 

 

 

 

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1990

 

The Court of Common Pleas of __________ County is required by law to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. For information about accessible facilities and reasonable accommodations available to disabled individuals having business before the court, please contact our office. All arrangements must be made at least 72 hours prior to any hearing or business before the court. You must attend the scheduled conference or hearing.

 

 

 

BY THE COURT:

 

 

Date:...................................................................................................

 

 

 

 

J.

 

 

 

(Adopted Dec. 10, 1981, effective July 1, 1982; effective date extended to Jan. 1, 1983 by order of June 25, 1982. Readopted and amended Nov. 8, 1982, effective Jan. 1, 1983. Amended April 29, 1991, effective July 1, 1991; Dec. 2, 1994, effective March 1, 1995; March 2, 2000, imd. effective; March 18, 2004, effective June 16, 2004; Nov. 19, 2008, imd. effective; Aug. 1, 2013, effective Sept. 3, 2013; July 20, 2015, effective September 1, 2015; May 18, 2016, effective July 1, 2016; Jan. 5, 2018, effective Jan. 6, 2018; June 1, 2018, effective July 1, 2018; July 27, 2020, effective Oct. 1, 2020).

 

EXPLANATORY COMMENT--2008

 

In an effort to promote uniformity of practice throughout the Commonwealth, several forms are included in the rules. Two aspects of these forms are worthy of mention. First, much of the information which must be set forth in the complaint is required by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5429. Second, the complaint is verified by use of a statement that it is subject to the penalties of the Crimes Code relating to unsworn falsification to authorities. A notary public is not needed.

 

EXPLANATORY COMMENT--2020

 

Act of May 4, 2018, P.L. 112, No. 21, amended 23 Pa.C.S. § 5324 by adding a new class of third-party standing for individuals seeking custody of a child whose parents do not have care and control of the child. The individual seeking custody may or may not be related to the child. Subject to the limitations in 23 Pa.C.S. § 5324(5), the newly added standing provision requires that: (1) the individual has assumed or is willing to assume responsibility for the child; (2) the individual has a sustained, substantial, and sincere interest in the child’s welfare; and (3) the child’s parents do not have care and control of the child. A plaintiff proceeding under Section 5324(4) shall satisfy the requirements of that provision by clear and convincing evidence. Additionally, if a juvenile dependency proceeding has been initiated, or is ongoing, or if there is an order for permanent legal custody, Section 5324(5) provides that an individual cannot assert standing under Section 5324(4).

 

 

Consistent with the Act’s statutory change, the Complaint for Custody Paragraph 9 has been revised to include a third party seeking custody of a child under 23 Pa.C.S. § 5324(4) and has been reorganized to sequentially follow the statutory provisions in 23 Pa.C.S. §§ 5324(2)-(4) and 5325. Similarly, Pa.R.C.P. No. 1915.3(e) has been reorganized to sequentially follow the statutory provision sequence. See Pa.R.C.P. No. 1915.3(e).

 

Rule 1930.1. Form of Caption. Confidential Information and Confidential Documents. Certification

 

(a) Form of Caption.

 

 

(1) Except as set forth in subdivision (2), the caption in a domestic relations matter shall include the parties’ full names. The form of the caption shall be substantially in the following form:

 

 

In the Court of Common Pleas of

__________ County, Pennsylvania

 

 

 

Party A’s full name,

 

 

 

)

 

 

 

 

Plaintiff

 

 

)

 

 

 

vs.

 

 

 

)

 

 

No. (Docket Number)

 

 

Party B’s full name,

 

 

 

)

 

 

 

 

Defendant

 

 

)

 

 

 

 

(Title of Pleading)

 

(2) In a custody action, the court may order that the case caption contain the parties’ initials rather than the parties’ names based on the sensitive nature of the facts in the case record and the child’s best interest.

 

 

Note: See Pa.R.C.P. No. 1915.10(b)(3).

 

 

(b) Unless public access is otherwise constrained by applicable authority, any attorney, or any party if unrepresented, who files a document pursuant to these rules with the prothonotary’s office shall comply with the requirements of Sections 7.0 and 8.0 of the Case Records Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania (Policy) including a certification of compliance with the Policy and, as necessary, a Confidential Information Form, unless otherwise specified by rule or order of court, or a Confidential Document Form in accordance with the Policy.

 

 

Note: Applicable authority includes but is not limited to statute, procedural rule, or court order. The Case Records Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania (Policy) can be found on the website of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania at http://www.pacourts.us/public-records. Sections 7.0(D) and 8.0(D) of the Policy provide that the certification shall be in substantially the following form:

 

 

I certify that this filing complies with the provisions of the Case Records Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania that require filing confidential information and documents differently than non-confidential information and documents.

 

 

The Confidential Information Form and the Confidential Document Form can be found at http://www.pacourts.us/public-records. In lieu of the Confidential Information Form, Section 7.0(C) of the Policy provides for a court to adopt a rule or order permitting the filing of a document in two versions, a “Redacted Version” and an “Unredacted Version.”

 

 

(Adopted Dec. 2, 1994, effective March 1, 1995. Amended Jan. 5, 2018, effective Jan. 6, 2018; June 1, 2018, effective July 1, 2018; Oct. 22, 2020, effective Jan. 1, 2021).

 

EXPLANATORY COMMENT--2021

 

Subdivision (a)(1) requires that the parties’ full names are used in a domestic relations case caption unless the court determines it necessary to protect the child’s identity by initializing the case caption in a custody action based on sensitive facts in the case and the child’s best interest. Generally, a child custody case does not include sensitive information or egregious facts that would cause embarrassment to a child and necessitate exceptional privacy measures; however, in the unusual circumstance that a custody action has egregious facts that may cause an issue for the child, the trial court would have the discretion to initialize the caption in order to maintain the child’s privacy interests.

 

 

Subdivision (a)(2) provides the exception to the general rule in subdivision (a)(1) for a custody action in which the court deems that the child could be adversely affected by the sensitive nature of the facts in the record. In a custody case in which the trial court determines the child’s best interest requires an initialized caption, Pa.R.C.P. No. 1915-10(b)(4) requires that additional privacy safeguards are in the written custody order or opinion entered by the court.

 

 

The rule’s requirement that a case caption use the parties’ full names does not alter a party’s or an attorney’s responsibilities under the Case Records Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania and subdivision (b).

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