News COVID-19 Domestic Violence and Custody Resources

COVID-19 Domestic Violence and Custody Resources

While social distancing and stay-at-home orders are the best defense against the spread of COVID-19, these same public health precautions can lead to increases in Domestic Violence and violations of child custody and PFA orders.

NPLS may be able to help. We are accepting new applications by phone Monday-Thursday from 9 - 11:30 a.m. or 1:30 - 4 p.m. by calling 877-953-4250. You can also apply online anytime: www.northpennlegal.org/get-help

Protection from Abuse Orders

While many courthouses are closed during the COVID-19 Pandemic, they are still accessible for Emergency Services. This means that despite the courthouse being closed there is still the ability for individuals who are victims of Domestic Violence to go to the courthouse and file a Petition for a Protection from Abuse Order. The procedure that is to be followed during this time will vary depending on the county; however, all counties are accepting filings for Protection from Abuse Petitions either at the Magisterial District Court level or the Court of Common Pleas level depending on the time of filing. Depending on the county in which you reside the procedure for Final Hearings will vary at this time. If you are a victim of abuse and are in need of services please contact your local domestic violence organization, these services are open to victims 24 hours a day.

More domestic violence resources can be found at:
https://www.pcadv.org/

Child Custody

The Governor’s Office of General Counsel has specified that during the period that Stay at Home Orders are in effect, Custody Orders are to be followed in normal course. That means that all pick up and exchanges should be occurring as regularly scheduled despite the Stay at Home Order. If the other parent is refusing to comply with the Order, you could file a Contempt Petition. However, courts are only accepting some filings at this time. If there is an emergency that affects the health and wellness of the child, or other emergency circumstances, the court may accept a Petition for Special Relief. All filings dependent on county specific rules.