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Legal Information: Pennsylvania


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December 15, 2023

If a parent with custody rights has moved away due to military duty, can s/he give those rights to his/her family members?

Yes – under certain conditions. If a parent receives notice of deployment, the court may issue an order temporarily granting that parent’s custody rights to his/her family members. The custody rights could include shared, primary, partial, sole, or supervised physical custody and/or shared or sole legal custody.1

However, the following circumstances must be met:

  • The parent leaving for active duty and the family member(s) seeking temporary custody must petition the court together;
  • The petition must include a proposed schedule for care of the child by the family member(s);
  • The proposed custody schedule cannot go beyond the custodial rights of the parent leaving for active duty; and
  • The court must find that temporary custody with the family members is in the child’s best interest.2

1 51 Pa.C.S.A § 4109(a.1); 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5323(a)
2 51 Pa.C.S.A § 4109(a.1)