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Emergency Custody Relief

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'Emergency Relief' is available to parties in certain cases where specific concerns are alleged

By Attorney Jeffrey B. Engle, Custody Attorney, Harrisburg, PA

Custody matters are always very difficult.  They are troubling sometimes for the plaintiff and the defendant, and especially the minor children.  Situations may arise that may cause grave concerns to a parent.  These situations have to be dealt with immediately by a judge.

Recognizing that circumstances may change abruptly, a party may file for "Emergency Relief" under the Pennsylvania Civil Rules governing custody matters.  The Rule governing special relief contains a broad provision empowering the court to provide special relief where appropriate in actions for custody, partial custody, or visitation.  The relief may include, but is not limited to:

  1. The award of temporary custody, partial custody or visitation;
  2. The issuance of appropriate process directing that a child or a party or person having physical custody of a child be brought before a court; and
  3. A direction that a person post security to appear with the child when directed by the court or to comply with any order of the court.  Such special relief might also include relief in the nature of a writ of ne exeat ("not to exit"), directing parties not to leave a particular jurisdiction and not to remove a child from the jurisdiction.

Emergency Relief for a Threat to Abscond or Leave

Emergency Relief is most typically used in situations where one of the parents or parties to a custody matter has threatened to leave the jurisdiction with the child.  As indicated, a court may issue a writ of ne exeat or an order prohibiting the parent from taking the child from the jurisdiction.  This type of relief is granted after the filing of an Emergency Petition for Special Relief.

If you are involved in a custody matter and there are circumstances that require immediate court attention, you need to speak to an attorney immediately.  Emergency or Special Relief may be appropriate.  You may call Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC toll free or email us today.

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