What Can I Do When My Ex Withholds Custody From Me?

shared parentingQuestion:

What can I do when my ex is withholding custody from me?


Please be advised that I am barred in Pennsylvania and will answer your question based on my experience in Pennsylvania.

When a parent is withholding custody, how to proceed depends on whether or not a court order has been entered.

If a custody order has been entered, then the issue becomes a matter of contempt and seeking sanctions, such as fines, make-up custodial time, and even jail time, to compel the opposing party to follow the court’s order. In this state, what sanctions are issued is in the judge’s discretion.

Philadelphia Divorce Attorney Jaimie Collins
Philadelphia Divorce Attorney Jaimie Collins

If the opposing party is withholding custody and there is no custody order in place, then, in this state, either an emergency or expedited petition for custody may be filed, depending on the circumstances.

In Pennsylvania, a party may only withhold custody if he or she has a justifiable good faith reason for doing so, such as protecting the children from physical harm, and seeks a modification or entry of court order upon withholding.

You should schedule an initial consultation with an attorney barred in your state at the earliest opportunity to discuss the facts of your case and your options for relief further.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Pennsylvania divorce lawyer Jaimie Collins, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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Shawn Garrison is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell & Cordell UK. He has written countless pieces dealing with the unique child custody and divorce issues that men and fathers face. Through his work on CordellCordell.com, CordellCordell.co.uk, and DadsDivorce.com, Mr. Garrison has become an authority on the complexities of the legal experience and was a content creator for the YouTube series “Dad’s Divorce Live” and additional videos on both the Dad’s Divorce and Cordell & Cordell YouTube channels. Mr. Garrison has managed the sites of these customers, and fostered the creation of several of their features, including the Cordell & Cordell attorney and office pages, the Dad’s Divorce Newsletter, and the Cordell & Cordell newsletter.

One comment on “What Can I Do When My Ex Withholds Custody From Me?

    How often are the penalties for contempt ever used? It seems that once the party in contempt realizes that there are no remifications for violating a custody order, they become even more willing to ignore whatever the court says.

    Have there ever been any attempts to give this more teeth? Has it ever been discussed that violating a custody order should be a criminal offense?

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