Pennsylvania Code & Bulletin
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

• No statutes or acts will be found at this website.

The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 52 Pa.B. 2550 (April 23, 2022).

231 Pa. Code Rule 1915.3. Commencement of Action. Complaint. Order.

Rule 1915.3. Commencement of Action. Complaint. Order.

 (a)  Except as provided in subdivision (c), the plaintiff shall commence a custody action by filing a verified complaint substantially in the form provided by Pa.R.C.P. No. 1915.15(a).

   Official Note

   See Pa.R.C.P. No. 1930.1(b). This rule may require attorneys or unrepresented parties to file confidential documents and documents containing confidential information that are subject to the Case Records Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania.

 (b)  An order shall be attached to the complaint or petition for modification directing the defendant to appear at a time and place specified. The order shall be substantially in the form provided by Pa.R.C.P. No. 1915.15(c).

   Official Note

   See Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, 23 Pa.C.S. §  5430(d), relating to costs and expenses for appearance of parties and child, and 23 Pa.C.S. §  5471, relating to intrastate application of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.

 (c)  A custody claim that is joined with a divorce action shall be asserted in the divorce complaint or a subsequent petition, which shall be substantially in the form provided by Pa.R.C.P. No. 1915.15(a).

   Official Note

   See Pa.R.C.P. No. 1920.13(b) (claims that are joined in a divorce action shall be raised in a complaint or a subsequent petition).

 (d)  If the child’s mother is not married and the child has no legal or presumptive father, a putative father initiating a custody action shall file a paternity claim pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. §  5103 and attach a copy to the custody complaint.

   Official Note

   If a putative father is uncertain of paternity, the correct procedure is to commence a civil action for paternity pursuant to the procedures set forth at Pa.R.C.P. No. 1930.6.

 

 (e) Pleading Facts Establishing Standing.

   (1)  An individual seeking physical or legal custody of a child, who is in loco parentis to the child, shall plead facts establishing standing under 23 Pa.C.S. §  5324(2) in Paragraph 9(a) of the complaint in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1915.15(a).

   (2)  A grandparent seeking physical or legal custody of a grandchild, who is not in loco parentis to the child, shall plead facts establishing standing under 23 Pa.C.S. §  5324(3) in Paragraph 9(b) of the complaint in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1915.15(a).

   (3)  An individual seeking physical or legal custody of a child, who is not in loco parentis to the child, shall plead facts establishing standing under 23 Pa.C.S. §  5324(4) and (5) in Paragraph 9(c) of the complaint in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1915.15(a).

   (4)  A grandparent or great-grandparent seeking partial physical custody or supervised physical custody of a grandchild or great-grandchild shall plead facts establishing standing under 23 Pa.C.S. §  5325 in Paragraph 9(d) of the complaint in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1915.15(a).

   (f)  An unemancipated minor parent may commence, maintain, or defend a custody action of the minor parent’s child without the requirement of the appointment of a guardian for the minor parent.

Comment—2020

   Act of May 4, 2018, P.L. 112, No. 21, amended 23 Pa.C.S. §  5324 by adding a new class of third-party standing for individuals seeking custody of a child whose parents do not have care and control of the child. The individual seeking custody may or may not be related to the child. Subject to Section 5324(5), the newly added standing provision requires that: (1) the individual has assumed or is willing to assume responsibility for the child; (2) the individual has a sustained, substantial, and sincere interest in the child’s welfare; and (3) the child’s parents do not have care and control of the child. A plaintiff proceeding under Section 5324(4) shall satisfy the requirements of that provision by clear and convincing evidence. Additionally, if a juvenile dependency proceeding has been initiated, or is ongoing, or there is an order for permanent legal custody, Section 5324(5) provides that an individual cannot assert standing under Section 5324(4).

   Consistent with the Act 21 of 2018 statutory changes, subdivision (e) has been revised to include a third party seeking custody of a child under 23 Pa.C.S. §  5324(4). The subdivision has been reorganized to sequentially follow the statutory provisions in 23 Pa.C.S. § §  5324(2)—(4) and 5325. Similarly, the Complaint for Custody Paragraph 9 in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1915.15(a) has been reorganized to sequentially follow the statutory provisions and rules sequence, as well. See Pa.R.C.P. No. 1915.15(a).

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 1915.3 amended March 30, 1994, effective July 1, 1994, 24 Pa.B. 1943; amended October 30, 2001, effective immediately, 31 Pa.B. 6273; amended October 31, 2002, effective immediately, 32 Pa.B. 5632; amended August 1, 2013, effective September 3, 2013, 43 Pa.B. 4702; amended July 20, 2015, effective September 1, 2015, 45 Pa.B. 4158; amended January 5, 2018, effective January 6, 2018, 48 Pa.B. 477; amended June 1, 2018, effective July 1, 2018, 48 Pa.B. 3520; amended July 27, 2020, effective October 1, 2020, 50 Pa.B. 4019. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (392629) to (392630).



No part of the information on this site may be reproduced for profit or sold for profit.


This material has been drawn directly from the official Pennsylvania Code full text database. Due to the limitations of HTML or differences in display capabilities of different browsers, this version may differ slightly from the official printed version.