Child Custody in York County

A separation or divorce can be incredibly challenging for families with children. As child custody issues arise, an already tense dynamic becomes even more stressful. Even when parents agree on how children should be raised, the process for determining custodial rights requires a judge. They review child custody agreements and enter formal orders to make their agreement legally enforceable. In York County, child custody cases are handled in the Family Law Division of the Court of Common Pleas – better known as Family Court

The LLF Law Firm Family Law Team can help you protect your rights in York County child custody cases, regardless of whether there is a dispute over the terms of custody. Call us today at 888.535.3686 or use the LLF Law Firm Family Law Team's contact link to schedule a confidential consultation to discover more about how we can help.   

Where are Child Custody Matters Adjudicated in York County? 

Family Court for York County is located at 45 N. George Street in York. It is here that a child custody complaint and related documentation is filed. It's also where family court judges and their courtrooms are located. Should you file a child custody matter in York County and need to appear in court, this is where your matter will be heard. 

Child custody matters are overseen by hearing officers and judges who specifically handle domestic relations issues. Family Court judges also handle matters like divorce, child and spousal support, and domestic violence. 

What Are the Different Types of Child Custody?  

There are two kinds of child custody: physical custody and legal custody. Understanding the difference between these two is important, as both must be addressed when a judge issues a custody order in York. 

  • Physical custody refers to the person responsible for the daily care of the child. This person must provide food, clothing, and shelter for the child. They are also responsible for getting the child to and from school, activities, the doctor and dentist, and so on. Physical custody may be awarded primarily to one parent, or it may be shared, with each parent spending large amounts of time with the child. In some situations, one parent may have sole custody of the child; in those or other cases, one parent may be permitted only limited visits with the child, which may be supervised by a court-appointed agency or monitor. 
  • Legal custody determines who makes important decisions about a child's care; for instance, what religion the child will practice, where they will attend school, and what kind of medical care they will receive. These decisions can be shared between parents, or the court may award legal custody to just one parent – it's not always the same parent who has physical custody. 

In many cases, judges award a hybrid of both physical and legal custody. By combining elements of both physical and legal custody, they aim to create a custody plan that reflects the child's needs and promotes their overall well-being. 

This tailored approach considers various factors, including the child's age, developmental stage, relationship with each parent, and any special needs they may have. Additionally, judges take into account the dynamics within the family unit, such as the ability of parents to cooperate and communicate effectively, as well as any history of abuse or neglect. 

What Are the Requirements for Seeking Custody of a Child in York County?  

In general, a child must have been living in York County for at least six months before the Family Court will hear a custody case pertaining to that person. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. If a child is less than six months old, for instance, or if the child has been abandoned or abused, or if their sibling or parent has suffered abuse. 

There are limits as to who can bring forth a custody case. Generally speaking, parents, grandparents, or someone who has assumed parental responsibility for the child can pursue custody. A person who is willing to be responsible for the child and has a long-standing interest in their welfare may also bring custody cases when neither parent can care for the child. 

What Is the Procedure Used To Resolve Child Custody Cases in York County? 

In York County, parents engaged in custody battles must first schedule a conciliation conference. During this conference, a neutral person meets with the parties to try to resolve the dispute in a mutually agreeable manner. Should this meeting go well, a stipulated order for custody will be handed down. 

In the event that parents cannot come to an agreement about custody, an Interim Order for Custody is issued. This temporary custody agreement will be enforced while parents attend a Kids First Custody Workshop. Mediation begins with further efforts to reach an agreement. Should mediation efforts fail once more, parties must file a Parenting Plan and Pre-Trial Memo. From there, a pre-trial conference will be held, followed by the trial, where a judge will make a decision about custody

Is There a Way to Avoid a Custody Workshop? 

If you're involved in a custody case and attend a conciliation conference, you'll also need to go to a Custody Workshop within about two months of the conference. However, if you and the other party come to an agreement during the conference, you might not have to attend the workshop. 

The workshop is run by Family-Child Resources of York. It lasts for about four hours, and there's a fee for each person attending. You don't have to go together with the other party, and workshops are available in the evenings and on weekends. 

Once you finish the workshop, you'll get a certificate that you need to submit to the court. If you miss the workshop or forget to file the certificate, the judge could hold you in contempt of court. That's why it's so important to attend and follow through with all the requirements. 

What if I Disagree with the Terms of a Child Custody Order in York County?  

After the court hearing, you'll get a copy of the judge's decision on custody in the mail once it's ready. If you want to challenge this decision and appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, start by filing a formal Notice of Appeal. You have 30 days from the date the final decision was made to do this. 

Once you've filed the Notice of Appeal, the appellate court will look over all the documents and records from the original trial. This includes things like transcripts of what was said in court, important papers, and the trial court's final decision. 

Next, the party appealing (the appellant) will usually write up a document called a brief. This explains the legal reasons why they think the decision should be changed. Then, the other side (the appellee) gets a chance to respond with their own brief. Sometimes, there are more rounds of writing, and sometimes, the court schedules a time for both sides to speak directly to the judges. 

After considering everything, the appellate court will make a decision. They might agree with the original decision, change it, or send the case back to the lower court for more work. 

If either side isn't happy with what the appellate court decides, they might have the option to appeal again to an even higher court, like the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. But it's important to know that the Supreme Court doesn't have to take every case, and they usually only hear ones that are really important statewide or that involve new legal questions. 

The LLF Law Firm Family Law Team can help you if you are unhappy with the results of your child custody order. We can also help if the other party is challenging an order you agree with. We know Pennsylvania law and procedures well – tell us the facts surrounding your case, and we can help resolve disputed custody orders. 

What Happens if My Ex Violates the Child Custody Order in York County?  

Given that the child custody order is a formal decree issued by a York Family Court judge, any breach of its terms carries significant consequences. Violating the terms of a child custody order can result in being held in contempt of court, potentially leading to fines or imprisonment. However, before such consequences can be imposed, the aggrieved party must submit a Petition for Contempt to the same court that issued the custody order. 

In situations where one party repeatedly breaches the custody order, the affected party may seek a modification of the order to prevent future violations. This is often pursued when a parent consistently fails to adhere to the court-ordered custody schedule or places the child's well-being at risk. 

At LLF Law Firm, our Family Law Team is well-versed in the procedures for filing contempt petitions in York Family Court matters. Our skilled attorneys are equipped to assist you in either filing or defending against contempt petitions brought in York County Family Court. 

What if I Want to Change the Terms of a Custody Order in York County?  

Child custody orders are legal directives outlining specific responsibilities for each parent regarding their child's well-being. Any alterations to these terms must receive approval from the judge, even if both parents are in agreement. Failure to obtain judicial approval can result in contempt charges against either or both parents. 

This requirement exists because child custody orders prioritize the child's best interests over parental convenience. To request modifications, a motion must be filed with the York Family Court. This motion outlines the proposed changes and provides reasons for their necessity, allowing the judge to evaluate whether they serve the child's best interests. 

In cases where only one parent seeks modification, the procedure remains the same: filing a motion with the York Family Court. A hearing may be scheduled for both parties to present their arguments, and the judge will ultimately decide whether to grant the requested modification or propose an alternative solution. 

LLF Law Firm's Family Law Team comprises experienced attorneys who are well-versed in the criteria used by York County judges to assess and decide custody order modification motions. Whether you're seeking modification or contesting one, we can provide knowledgeable assistance tailored to your situation. 

How the LLF Law Firm Can Help You With Custody Issues in York County 

The LLF Law Firm Family Law Team boasts extensive experience assisting parents navigating child custody matters throughout Pennsylvania. We'll collaborate with you to gather pertinent information supporting your stance on custody order terms, advocating for your parental rights while prioritizing your child's best interests, as mandated by the court. 

In cases of custody term violations, we're here to aid in enforcement; conversely, if you're accused of breaching terms, we'll vigorously defend you against contempt charges. While adept at resolving disputes over custody terms, we're equally skilled at facilitating agreements between parties. Leveraging our familiarity with York Family Court, our attorneys strive to craft custody agreements acceptable to all parties and endorsed by the court, avoiding potential disagreements down the line. 

Your child's future is paramount, and we're committed to safeguarding it. If you're grappling with a child custody issue in York County, reach out to the LLF Law Firm Family Law Team today at 888.535.3686 or through our confidential consultation contact form. Let us help you secure your child's future. 

Contact a skilled Family Law Team Today!

The LLF Law Firm has unparalleled experience practicing Family Law in Pennsylvania. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Our Family Law Team will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

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