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Legal Information: Pennsylvania

Statutes: Pennsylvania

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December 14, 2023

5402. Definitions

The following words and phrases when used in this chapter shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

“Abandoned.” Left without provision for reasonable and necessary care or supervision.

“Child.” An individual who has not attained 18 years of age.

“Child custody determination.” A judgment, decree or other order of a court providing for legal custody, physical custody or visitation with respect to a child. The term includes a permanent, temporary, initial and modification order. The term does not include an order relating to child support or other monetary obligation of an individual.

“Child custody proceeding.” A proceeding in which legal custody, physical custody or visitation with respect to a child is an issue. The term includes a proceeding for divorce, separation, neglect, abuse, dependency, guardianship, paternity, termination of parental rights and protection from domestic violence, in which the issue may appear. The term does not include a proceeding involving juvenile delinquency, contractual emancipation or enforcement under Subchapter C (relating to enforcement).

“Commencement.” The filing of the first pleading in a proceeding.

“Court.” An entity authorized under the law of a state to establish, enforce or modify a child custody determination.

“Home state.” The state in which a child lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately before the commencement of a child custody proceeding. In the case of a child six months of age or younger, the term means the state in which the child lived from birth with any of the persons mentioned. A period of temporary absence of any of the mentioned persons is part of the period.

“Initial determination.” The first child custody determination concerning a particular child.

“Issuing court.” The court that makes a child custody determination for which enforcement is sought under this chapter.

“Modification.” A child custody determination that changes, replaces, supersedes or is otherwise made after a previous determination concerning the same child, whether or not it is made by the court that made the previous determination.

“Person.” An individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, limited liability company, association, joint venture, government or governmental subdivision, agency or instrumentality, public corporation or any other legal or commercial entity.

“Person acting as a parent.” A person, other than a parent, who:

(1) has physical custody of the child or has had physical custody for a period of six consecutive months, including any temporary absence, within one year immediately before the commencement of a child custody proceeding; and

(2) has been awarded legal custody by a court or claims a right to legal custody under the laws of this Commonwealth.

“Physical custody.” The physical care and supervision of a child.

“State.” A state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

“Tribe.” A Native American tribe or band, or Alaskan Native village, which is recognized by Federal law or formally acknowledged by a state.

“Warrant.” An order issued by a court authorizing law enforcement officers to take physical custody of a child.