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PETITION TO MODIFY CUSTODY INSTRUCTION SHEET USE THIS FORM IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE AN EXISTING CUSTODY ORDER. These instructions are meant to give you general information and not legal advice. 1. Complete the Domestic Relations Information Sheet with as much information as you have. 2. Complete, date, and sign the Petition to Modify. (detailed instructions included) 3. The filing fee for a petition to modify is $42.68. If you cannot pay the filing fee, you may ask to be excused from paying the fee by filing a Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (IFP). If you receive public assistance or SSI, bring your public assistance photo ID or proof that you receive SSI. 4. File the completed Petition to Modify and Information Sheet with the filing fee by mailing or hand-delivering them in person to: Clerk of Court 1501 Arch Street 11th Floor Philadelphia, PA. 19102 5. If you file in person, you may pay the filing fee by money order, or credit card. If you file by mail, you may pay by money order ONLY. Make the money order payable to "OFFICE OF JUDICIAL RECORDS." Personal checks will not be accepted. 6. Whether you file the petition by mail or hand-deliver it to the office of the Clerk of Family Court, you must file the original AND two (2) copies. A copy machine is available at the Clerk's office at a cost of $.25 per page. 7. Once the petition is filed, the court will mail the petition and an order scheduling a hearing on the petition to you and the other party. Sponsored by the Family Law Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association February, 2015 American LegalNet, Inc. www.FormsWorkFlow.com PROVISIONS OF LAW THAT MAY HELP YOU FILL OUT THE PETITION: § 5322. Definitions The following words and phrases when used in this subchapter shall have the meaning given to them in this section unless the context clearly indicated otherwise. Child - An unemancipated individual under 18 years of age. Physical custody - The actual physical possession and control of a child. Sole physical custody - The right of one individual to exclusive physical custody of the child. Primary physical custody - The right to assume physical custody of the child for the majority of time. Shared physical custody - The right of more than one individual to assume physical custody of the child, each having significant periods of physical custodial time with the child. Partial physical custody - The right to assume physical custody of the child for less than a majority of the time. Supervised physical custody - Custodial time during which an agency or an adult designated by the court or agreed upon by the parties monitors the interaction between the child and the individual with those rights. Legal custody - The right to make major decisions on behalf of the child, including, but not limited to, medical, religious and educational decisions. Sole legal custody - The right of one individual to exclusive legal custody of the child. Shared legal custody - The right of more than one individual to legal custody of the child. Note: Pennsylvania's custody law does not use the word visitation. Partial physical custody, shared physical custody and supervised physical custody may be what you understand visitation to be. American LegalNet, Inc. www.FormsWorkFlow.com § 5328. Factors to consider when awarding custody. (a) Factors.--In ordering any form of custody, the court shall determine the best interest of the child by considering all relevant factors, giving weighted consideration to those factors which affect the safety of the child, including the following: (1) Which party is more likely to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and another party. (2) The present and past abuse committed by a party or member of the party's household, whether there is a continued risk of harm to the child or an abused party and which party can better provide adequate physical safeguards and supervision of the child. (3) The parental duties performed by each party on behalf of the child. (4) The need for stability and continuity in the child's education, family life and community life. (5) The availability of extended family. (6) The child's sibling relationships. (7) The well-reasoned preference of the child, based on the child's maturity and judgment. (8) The attempts of a parent to turn the child against the other parent, except in cases of domestic violence where reasonable safety measures are necessary to protect the child from harm. (9) Which party is more likely to maintain a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship with the child adequate for the child's emotional needs. (10) Which party is more likely to attend to the daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational and special needs of the child. (11) The proximity of the residences of the parties. (12) Each party's availability to care for the child or ability to make appropriate child-care arrangements. (13) The level of conflict between the parties and the willingness and ability of the parties to cooperate with one another. A party's effort to protect a child from abuse by another party is not evidence of unwillingness or inability to cooperate with that party. (14) The history of drug or alcohol abuse of a party or member of a party's household. American LegalNet, Inc. www.FormsWorkFlow.com (15) The mental and physical condition of a party or member of a party's household. (16) Any other relevant factor. The custody statute also lists specific criminal convictions and criminal charges for consideration in a custody decision and procedures to be followed for such consideration. See § 5329 Consideration of criminal conviction, available on the internet at http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/23/00.053.029.000..HTM See § 5330. Consideration of criminal charge, available on the internet at http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/23/00.053.030.000..HTM TERMS THAT ARE USED IN THE PETITION: PLAINTIFF DEFENDANT PETITIONER RESPONDENT Person who filed the custody complaint Person against whom the custody complaint was filed Person who filed the petition to modify the custody order Person against whom the petition to modify the custody order was filed HOW TO FILL IN THE PETITION: HEADING (CAPTION). Fill in the names of the plaintiff and defendant in the heading of the petition exactly as they appear in the custody complaint. The plaintiff is the person who filed the custody complaint. The defendant is the person against whom t