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Custody and Guardianship of Children

Legal Information > Information from the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network
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This section of PALawHelp.org has information and resources about Custody and Guardianship of Children issues in Pennsylvania.

Click on a resource category listed below to see information related to that category.

Child Custody

Information from Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services, Inc. on child custody proceedings and the child custody process.

Child Custody

Information from Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Inc. on rights relating to custody and visitation of children.

Child Custody Video Workshop - North Penn Legal Services

This video workshop from North Penn Legal Services provided basic information about child custody and visitation and describes how custody disputes are handled throgh the courts or through negotiation or mediation.

Custody

Chapter 5 of Family Law Manual, developed by North Penn Legal Services. [PDF]

Custody

Fact sheet from the Youth Justice Project on child custody. [PDF]

Custody and Visitation in PA (Audio-MP3)

Episode of Northwestern Legal Services' "Access to Justice" Radio show broadcast on JET 1400 AM in Erie, PA on 5/22/2008. Robert Oakley, NWLS Director interviews Judge Stephanie Domitrovitch, Erie County, Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, and Karen Klapsinos, NWLS Staff Attorney regarding custody in Pennsylvania. Information is provided on what a Custody Order is, what it means, how to obtain one, and issues to consider when pursuing custody or visitation. (24:06)

Custody Law in Pennsylvania

General information on custody law in Pennsylvania

Custody - Myths & Facts

Information from MidPenn Legal Services on the true facts regarding child custody law.

General Information On Custody and Visitation

Definitions and general information on custody and visitation from Northwestern Legal Services.

Overview of Custody - Guidelines of Conduct

Information from Northwestern Legal Services on the guidelines of conduct surrounding child custody.

Planning for Custody and Care of Children: an Informational Guide for Immigrant Families

This guide is designed to provide important basic information about child custody to immigrant families.

Custody Update 2014 (Video)

This video from North Penn Legal Services, presented by Ellen Kramer of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, provides updated information for issues related to custody relocation and the factors a court needs to consider in any custody case.

Inside Custody Court: Factors Relevant to Custody Decisions (Video)

This video produced by Penn Law School with the assistance of Philadelphia Legal Assistance, provides an introduction to the factors relevant to custody decisions in Pennsylvania.

Understanding "The Best Interests of a Child"

Review of the sixteen factors listed in Pennsylvania law that the Court must consider when deciding the “best interests of the child” in a custody case, and how these factors might apply in your case.

Criminal Record and Abuse History in Custody Actions with Instructions

Beginning in September 2013 any person filing a complaint for custody, or any petition for modification for custody must also file a verification regarding any criminal or abuse history of the petitioner and anyone living in the petitioner’s household. This form, completed and filed following the included instructions, may be used to satisfy this requirement. [PDF]

Filling out an Affidavit of Service (Video)

This video from Laurel Legal Services explains how to complete and file an Affidavit of Service in a custody proceeding after servicing legal papers on the opposing party in your case. The video covers situations where a person is personally served by giving them a copy of the papers and when the service is done by mail.

How to Complete a Custody Complaint Form - For Grandparents and Third Parties (Video)

This video from Laurel Legal Services provides line-by-line instructions on how to complete a Custody Complaint form 2 (for grandparents and third parties) that is available from the PA Courts "Representing Yourself" website.

How to Complete a Custody Complaint Form - For Parents (Video)

This video from Laurel Legal Services provides line-by-line instructions on how to complete a Custody Complaint form 1 (for parents) that is available from the PA Courts "Representing Yourself" website.

How to File a Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

This video from Laurel Legal Services provides an explanation of what In Forma Pauperis is (a request to file legal papers without having to pay the filing fee because you cannot afford to pay the fees) and line-by-line instructions on completing a petition to request permission to proceed without paying filing fees.

Child Custody Video Workshop - North Penn Legal Services

This video workshop from North Penn Legal Services provided basic information about child custody and visitation and describes how custody disputes are handled throgh the courts or through negotiation or mediation.

Preparing for a Custody Hearing - Pennsylvania (Video)

This video explains what happens at a child custody hearing, describes the "best interest of the child" standard, and gives you tips on how to obtain the custody order you want. The video is part of Philadelphia Legal Assistance's "Make Your Case" video series.

How to Complete a Custody Complaint Form - For Grandparents and Third Parties (Video)

This video from Laurel Legal Services provides line-by-line instructions on how to complete a Custody Complaint form 2 (for grandparents and third parties) that is available from the PA Courts "Representing Yourself" website.

Overview of Grandparents' Rights in Family Court (Video)

Jennifer Pierce, Managing Attorney for Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania, provides a brief overview of grandparent’s rights in family court.

Philadelphia: Proceedings in Philadelphia Family Court during COVID-19

Information from Philadelphia Legal Assistance on how to stay informed and access the Philadelphia Family Court, including how to file pleadings and attend virtual hearings.

Criminal Record and Abuse History in Custody Actions with Instructions

Beginning in September 2013 any person filing a complaint for custody, or any petition for modification for custody must also file a verification regarding any criminal or abuse history of the petitioner and anyone living in the petitioner’s household. This form, completed and filed following the included instructions, may be used to satisfy this requirement. [PDF]

How to File a Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

This video from Laurel Legal Services provides an explanation of what In Forma Pauperis is (a request to file legal papers without having to pay the filing fee because you cannot afford to pay the fees) and line-by-line instructions on completing a petition to request permission to proceed without paying filing fees.

Filing for Emergency Custody: A Walk-Through (Video)

This video from Laurel Legal Services provides a walk-through of completing the forms necessary to file for Emergency Custody in Armstrong, Cambria, Clarion, Indiana, Jefferson and Westmoreland Counties.

Filling out an Affidavit of Service (Video)

This video from Laurel Legal Services explains how to complete and file an Affidavit of Service in a custody proceeding after servicing legal papers on the opposing party in your case. The video covers situations where a person is personally served by giving them a copy of the papers and when the service is done by mail.

How to Complete a Custody Complaint Form - For Grandparents and Third Parties (Video)

This video from Laurel Legal Services provides line-by-line instructions on how to complete a Custody Complaint form 2 (for grandparents and third parties) that is available from the PA Courts "Representing Yourself" website.

How to Complete a Custody Complaint Form - For Parents (Video)

This video from Laurel Legal Services provides line-by-line instructions on how to complete a Custody Complaint form 1 (for parents) that is available from the PA Courts "Representing Yourself" website.

How to File a Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

This video from Laurel Legal Services provides an explanation of what In Forma Pauperis is (a request to file legal papers without having to pay the filing fee because you cannot afford to pay the fees) and line-by-line instructions on completing a petition to request permission to proceed without paying filing fees.

Filing for Emergency Custody: A Walk-Through (Video)

This video from Laurel Legal Services provides a walk-through of completing the forms necessary to file for Emergency Custody in Armstrong, Cambria, Clarion, Indiana, Jefferson and Westmoreland Counties.

Filing for Emergency Custody: A Walk-Through (Video)

This video from Laurel Legal Services provides a walk-through of completing the forms necessary to file for Emergency Custody in Armstrong, Cambria, Clarion, Indiana, Jefferson and Westmoreland Counties.

Philadelphia: Proceedings in Philadelphia Family Court during COVID-19

Information from Philadelphia Legal Assistance on how to stay informed and access the Philadelphia Family Court, including how to file pleadings and attend virtual hearings.

Filing for Emergency Custody: A Walk-Through (Video)

This video from Laurel Legal Services provides a walk-through of completing the forms necessary to file for Emergency Custody in Armstrong, Cambria, Clarion, Indiana, Jefferson and Westmoreland Counties.

Philadelphia: Proceedings in Philadelphia Family Court during COVID-19

Information from Philadelphia Legal Assistance on how to stay informed and access the Philadelphia Family Court, including how to file pleadings and attend virtual hearings.

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