Rule 1915.6. Joinder of Parties.
(a)(1) If the court learns from the pleadings or any other source that a parent whose parental rights have not been previously terminated or a person who has physical custody of the child is not a party to the action, it shall order that the person be joined as a party. Such person shall be served with a copy of all prior pleadings and notice of the joinder substantially in the form prescribed by Rule 1915.16(a).
(2) The person joined must file any objection to the order of joinder within twenty days after notice of the order.
(3) The person joined may file a counterclaim asserting a right to physical or legal custody in the form required for a complaint by Rule 1915.3. A copy of the counterclaim shall be served upon all other parties to the action as provided by Rule 440.
(b) If the court learns from the pleadings or any other source that any other person who claims to have custodial rights with respect to the child is not a party to the action, it shall order that notice be given to that person of the pendency of the action and of the right to intervene therein. The notice shall be substantially in the form prescribed by Rule 1915.16(b).
The position taken by the rules is that a person in physical custody of the child and a parent whose parental rights have not been terminated are necessary parties to a custody determination. While it may be desirable to have other persons who claim custody rights as parties to the action, their joinder is not a prerequisite to a custody determination.
The provisions of this Rule 1915.6 amended March 30, 1994, effective July 1, 1994, 24 Pa.B. 1943; amended November 19, 2008, effective immediately, 38 Pa.B. 6598; amended August 1, 2013, effective September 3, 2013, 43 Pa.B. 4702. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (352461).
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