Allegheny County Family Court – Pro Se Custody Motion FAQ’s

The following guidelines and electronic petition submission tool are provided to assist pro se litigants (not represented by counsel) who are experiencing a custody related emergency and would like to file a motion for the Court of Common Pleas to intervene.

If you are not represented by an attorney and would like to submit an emergency motion, you are asked to review and acknowledge your understanding of the following information before proceeding to the Electronic Request to Petition Submission tool.

  • Custody orders entered prior to the Declaration of Judicial Emergency dated March 26, 2020 shall remain in effect unless modified by the Court. Both parties should follow the provisions of the current custody order as written. If you and the other party agree to a modification, you may make that change without motioning the Court to modify the order.
  • Although school may not be in session at this time, custody orders which provide for school-time and summertime schedules should be followed as written. The summer schedule will begin when your child’s school was scheduled to close for the summer. If you and the other party agree to a modification, you may make that change without motioning the Court to modify the order.
  • If your work schedule and/or that of the other party has changed, discuss this with the other party and attempt to reach an agreement that makes sense for your family. If you both agree to change the order, you do not need to petition the Court to modify the order.
  • If there is an interruption in following the custody order due to the Coronavirus and your child is physically safe, this is not considered an emergency. You may address the interruption in the custody schedule by filing the appropriate legal paperwork when the Court resumes regular business operations.
  • If the custody matter involves an Allegheny County Family Division Juvenile Section case, please contact your attorney, CYF caseworker, or probation officer.
  • If you have an emergency regarding custody of your child/children and it does NOT involve a juvenile court case, determine if you need to contact the Office of Children, Youth, and Families and/or local law enforcement prior to proceeding with an emergency custody motion.
  • Filing a new custody complaint, a petition for modification of a current custody order or submitting a petition for contempt are not considered emergencies. These documents can be filed when the Court resumes regular business operations.

Please keep in mind that the Court may decline to grant your motion if it is determined the relief requested is not an emergency.

As always, we provide updated links to additional Free Legal Resources which can answer many of your PA Family Law questions and we continue to provide answers to Frequently Asked Questions. We are also available by phone if you have specific questions or require legal assistance from an experienced Pittsburgh Family Law attorney. Call today 412.303.9566. Video meetings and online payment.