Can the Court address Custody in a PFA matter?

As a Reading Child Custody Attorney, Joe Guillama is often asked whether or not the Court has the power to address custody when the Court is entering a Temporary or Final Protection from Abuse Order (PFA.)

It is important to understand that 23 Pa.C.S.A. Section 6108(a)(iv) states that the Court may "award temporary custody of or establish temporary visitation rights with regard to minor children". However, the Court must consider any risk posed by the Defendant to the children as well as a risk to the Plaintiff. A person whom a PFA is entered against may not have custody or visitation with a child through a PFA if the Court finds that the Defendant abused the children or has been convicted of 18 Pa.C.S.A. Section 2904, which relates to interference with custody of the children within two years prior to the filing of the Petition for a PFA.

Also, where the Court finds that the Defendant has inflicted abuse upon the Plaintiff or a child, the Court may require supervised periods of custody between the Defendant and the child.

With all of this in mind, it is important to understand that if a Plaintiff petitions for a Temporary PFA, and the Defendant already has custody rights by an Order of Court, that Order shall not be disturbed or changed unless the Court finds that the Defendant is likely to inflict abuse upon the children or remove the children from the jurisdiction.

In short, it is important to understand that the custody of a child can definitely be impacted by the issuance of a Temporary or Final PFA. Should you have any questions relative to the ramifications that a PFA can have on ch ild custody, feel free to contact Berks County Custody Attorney Joseph A. Guillama.