In custody cases, the guiding principle of the court is always protecting the best interest of the child. For this reason, Pennsylvania Courts provide a way to immediately address any potential threats or serious issues concerning children in a custody related case. The petition used to address these emergency situations is called an Emergency Petition for Special Relief. Once the relief is requested, the custody case literally jumps to the front of the line. It’s a powerful tool that can modify the existing custody arrangement at any stage of the process.

A parent who seeks this extreme relief without good cause risks looking like the party who cried wolf in the eyes of the Judge. Filing an Emergency Petition without good cause can ruin a parent’s credibility as his or her case goes through the system. At the Mulligan Law Firm we focus our practice on divorce, custody, and support, and know how and when to use this powerful emergency petition in order to protect children and to serve our clients.

The most common mistake parents make is pressing for an emergency petition when one is not warranted is misreading the basis for filing the Petition. The basis is not when the parent’s interests are at risk but when the child’s interests are not at risk.

The circumstances which lead to the filing of a Petition For Emergency Relief include but are not limited to the following:

  • A parent who takes or makes plans to take a child to another state without permission of the Court or the other parent.
  • A child who is physically or mentally abused by a parent, the parent’s significant other or any other person staying with or having access to the child’s home.
  • A change in the livability of the dwelling, including the termination of utilities, recent damage to the property, or an eviction from the dwelling.
  • The lack of proper accommodations in the home that allow the child to not study, sleep, eat, and attend school, on a regular schedule.

In the event you or a loved one is faced with one of these emergency situations, please call the Mulligan Law Firm in order to obtain the guidance and peace of mind you deserve to move through the custody process.