Obtaining a Temporary Child Custody Order in PA

Obtaining a Temporary Child Custody Order in PA

Do you believe you need an emergency child custody order in PA? If an emergency has arisen that threatens the safety of your child, chances are you may need an emergency child custody order instead.

This article explains both types of child custody orders and how to get them. If your child is in immediate or imminent danger, call our office immediately.. When you call our office, we will take swift action to file for emergency custody and protect your child.

If there is no emergency, but you want to modify the existing custody order, we can help you with that as well. Here’s how to choose the right child custody lawyer for your custody situation.

What is a Temporary Child Custody Order?

In Pennsylvania, a family law judge will enter a temporary child custody order to set forth who has custody and who pays child support while the divorce is being litigated. A temporary child custody order is also called an “interim” order because it is only in effect untils a final custody order is entered.

What Does Temporary Custody of a Child Mean?

“Temporary custody” refers to the child custody and parenting time arrangements in place until a final custody order is entered.

How Do I Get a Temporary Child Custody Order in PA?

If separated or divorcing parents agree on custody arrangements during the pendency of their divorce, they can draft  their agreement and submit it to the court.

If divorcing parents cannot agree on temporary custody arrangements by agreement, the conference officer recommends a custody arrangement to the family law judge. The parents are bound by unless one or both of the parties disagrees.

The law is nuanced and differs slightly in each county in PA. For example, in some counties in PA, the temporary order recommended by the conference officer becomes a final order if neither parent files an objection or requests a pre-trial conference within 30 days of the issuance of the order.

In another example, parents in Philadelphia County can request an expedited hearing to put uncomplicated issues in front of the Court. This procedure is meant for families with non-emergency issues that still need quick attention, such as if a parent’s work schedule changes or a pick-up or drop-off point for custody exchanges need to be changed.

How Do I Write a Temporary Custody Agreement?

If you and the other parent agree on temporary custody arrangements, you can draft a custody stipulation and submit it to the conference officer, who will in turn submit it to the judge for her approval. The judge will then issue an order memorializing the terms of your custody stipulation.

What is the Difference Between a Temporary Child Custody Order and an Emergency Child Custody Order in PA?

It is common for laypeople to confuse the two types of orders.

Temporary child custody orders are in effect as a matter of course in any custody matter  where children are involved. Temporary child custody orders are either created by the parents, recommended by the conference officer, or ordered by the family law judge during conciliation.

Emergency child custody orders address circumstances under which a child’s health, safety, or welfare is at immediate or imminent risk.

What is Emergency Custody in PA?

The party seeking the emergency child custody order may be granted “emergency custody” of the child or children.

How Do I Get Emergency Child Custody in PA?

To obtain emergency custody of a child, you and your child custody attorney must file a petition for emergency custody. Your attorney will know what forms your county will require, as again, this differs from county to county in Pennsylvania.

An expedited hearing will be scheduled, sometimes within hours of filing the petition depending upon the urgency of the emergency. The hearing may be ex parte, which means that only the petitioner will attend. If the family law judge decides she needs to hear from both parties, she will issue an emergency custody order and schedule a second hearing.

If you are going through the custody  process when the emergency arises, you can ask the conference officer to schedule an emergency hearing.

How Much Does it Cost to File for Emergency Custody in PA?

In 2021, the filing fee is $42.68 in Philadelphia County. You will also pay your attorney’s fee, which varies.

Whether You Need an Emergency Child Custody Order or a Temporary Child Custody Order, Our PA Child Custody Lawyers Can Help

Again, if your child is at risk of harm, call us. We will act swiftly to help you get an emergency child custody order and protect your child.

If you and the child’s other parent cannot agree on the terms of a temporary child custody order, we can help you negotiate. Contact us.

Last, if there is a final child support order in place and you want to petition for modification of child custody, we can help you.

We have over 40 years of experience helping families in the five-county Philadelphia area. Here’s what some former clients have to say about us. Trust our PA child custody attorneys to address and resolve your child custody concerns.


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To schedule an appointment with an experienced family law attorney, please call 215-967-9070 or fill out the contact form below. We will generally respond to telephone calls and form submissions within 24 hours.

Contact Philadelphia Family Law Attorneys at Schwartz Law Firm, LLC.
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