1Amending Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pennsylvania
2Consolidated Statutes, providing for prevention of abduction
3of children.

4The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
5hereby enacts as follows:

6Section 1. Title 23 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated
7Statutes is amended by adding a chapter to read:




115201. Scope of chapter.

125202. Definitions.

135203. Cooperation and communication among courts.

145204. Actions for abduction prevention measures.

155205. Jurisdiction.

165206. Contents of petition.

175207. Factors to determine risk of abduction.

185208. Provisions and measures to prevent abduction.

15209. Warrant to take physical custody of child.

25210. Duration of abduction prevention order.

35211. Uniformity of application and construction.

45212. Relation to Electronic Signatures in Global and National
5Commerce Act.

6§ 5201. Scope of chapter.

7This chapter relates to uniform child abduction prevention.

8§ 5202. Definitions.

9The following words and phrases when used in this chapter
10shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
11context clearly indicates otherwise:

12"Abduction." The wrongful removal or wrongful retention of a 

14"Child." An unemancipated individual who is under 18 years 
15of age.

16"Child custody determination." Any judgment, decree or other 
17order of a court providing for the legal custody, physical 
18custody or visitation with respect to a child. The term includes 
19a permanent, temporary, initial and modification order.

20"Child custody proceeding." A proceeding in which legal 
21custody, physical custody or visitation with respect to a child 
22is at issue. The term includes a proceeding for divorce, 
23dissolution of marriage, separation, neglect, abuse, dependency, 
24guardianship, paternity, termination of parental rights or 
25protection from domestic violence.

26"Court." An entity authorized under the law of a state to 
27establish, enforce or modify a child custody determination.

28"Petition." A motion or its equivalent.

29"Record." Information that is inscribed on a tangible medium 
30or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is 

1retrievable in perceivable form.

2"State." A state of the United States, the District of 
3Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands or any territory or 
4insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United 
5States. The term includes a federally recognized Indian tribe or 

7"Travel document." Records relating to a travel itinerary, 
8including travel tickets, passes, reservations for 
9transportation or accommodations. The term does not include a 
10passport or visa.

11"Wrongful removal." The taking of a child that breaches 
12rights of custody or visitation given or recognized under the 
13laws of this Commonwealth.

14"Wrongful retention." The keeping or concealing of a child 
15that breaches rights of custody or visitation given or 
16recognized under the laws of this Commonwealth.

17§ 5203. Cooperation and communication among courts.

18Sections 5410 (relating to communication between courts),
195411 (relating to taking testimony in another state) and 5412
20(relating to cooperation between courts; preservation of
21records) apply to cooperation and communications among courts in
22proceedings under this chapter.

23§ 5204. Actions for abduction prevention measures.

24(a) Court.--A court on its own motion may order abduction
25prevention measures in a child custody proceeding if the court
26finds that the evidence establishes a credible risk of abduction
27of the child.

28(b) Party.--A party to a child custody determination or
29another individual or entity having a right under the laws of
30this Commonwealth or any other state to seek a child custody

1determination for the child may file a petition seeking
2abduction prevention measures to protect the child under this

4(c) Prosecutors or public officials.--A prosecutor or public
5authority designated under section 5455 (relating to role of
6prosecutor or public official) may seek a warrant to take
7physical custody of a child under section 5209 (relating to
8warrant to take physical custody of child) or other appropriate
9prevention measures.

10§ 5205. Jurisdiction.

11(a) General rule.--A petition under this chapter may be
12filed only in a court that has jurisdiction to make a child
13custody determination with respect to the child at issue under
14Chapter 54 (relating to uniform child custody jurisdiction and

16(b) Emergency jurisdiction.--A court of this Commonwealth
17has temporary emergency jurisdiction under section 5424
18(relating to temporary emergency jurisdiction) if the court
19finds a credible risk of abduction.

20§ 5206. Contents of petition.

21A petition under this chapter must be verified and include a
22copy of any existing child custody determination, if available.
23The petition must specify the risk factors for abduction,
24including the relevant factors described under section 5207
25(relating to factors to determine risk of abduction). Subject to
26section 5429(e) (relating to information to be submitted to
27court), if reasonably ascertainable, the petition must contain:

28(1) the name, date of birth and gender of the child;

29(2) the customary address and current physical location
30of the child;

1(3) the identity, customary address and current physical
2location of the respondent;

3(4) a statement of whether a prior action to prevent
4abduction or domestic violence has been filed by a party or
5other individual or entity having custody of the child and
6the date, location and disposition of the action;

7(5) a statement of whether a party to the proceeding has
8been arrested for a crime related to domestic violence,
9stalking or child abuse or neglect and the date, location and
10disposition of the case; and

11(6) any other information required to be submitted to
12the court for a child custody determination under section

14§ 5207. Factors to determine risk of abduction.

15(a) Evidence supporting risk.--In determining whether there
16is a credible risk of abduction of a child, the court shall
17consider any evidence that the petitioner or respondent:

18(1) has previously abducted or attempted to abduct the

20(2) has threatened to abduct the child;

21(3) has recently engaged in activities that may indicate
22a planned abduction, including:

23(i) abandoning employment;

24(ii) selling a primary residence;

25(iii) terminating a lease;

26(iv) closing bank or other financial management
27accounts, liquidating assets, hiding or destroying
28financial documents or conducting any unusual financial

30(v) applying for a passport or visa or obtaining

1travel documents for the respondent, a family member or
2the child; or

3(vi) seeking to obtain the child's birth certificate
4or school or medical records;

5(4) has engaged in domestic violence, stalking or child
6abuse or neglect;

7(5) has refused to follow a child custody determination;

8(6) lacks strong familial, financial, emotional or
9cultural ties to this Commonwealth or the United States;

10(7) has strong familial, financial, emotional or
11cultural ties to another state or country;

12(8) is likely to take the child to a country that:

13(i) is not a party to the Hague Convention on the
14Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and does
15not provide for the extradition of an abducting parent or
16for the return of an abducted child;

17(ii) is a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil
18Aspects of International Child Abduction but:

19(A) the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of
20International Child Abduction is not in force between
21the United States and that country;

22(B) according to the most recent compliance
23report issued by the United States Department of
24State, is noncompliant; or

25(C) lacks legal mechanisms for immediately and
26effectively enforcing a return order under the Hague
27Convention on the Civil Aspects of International
28Child Abduction;

29(iii) poses a risk that the child's physical or
30emotional health or safety would be endangered in the

1country because of specific circumstances relating to the
2child or because of human rights violations committed
3against children;

4(iv) has laws or practices that would:

5(A) enable the respondent, without due cause, to
6prevent the petitioner from contacting the child;

7(B) restrict the petitioner from freely
8traveling to or exiting from the country because of
9the petitioner's gender, nationality, marital status
10or religion; or

11(C) restrict the child's ability legally to
12leave the country after the child reaches the age of
13majority because of a child's gender, nationality or

15(v) is included by the United States Department of
16State on a current list of state sponsors of terrorism;

17(vi) does not have an official United States
18diplomatic presence in the country; or

19(vii) is engaged in active military action or war,
20including a civil war, to which the child may be exposed;

21(9) is undergoing a change in immigration or citizenship
22status that would adversely affect the respondent's ability
23to remain in the United States legally;

24(10) has had an application for United States
25citizenship denied;

26(11) has forged or presented misleading or false
27evidence on government forms or supporting documents to
28obtain or attempt to obtain a passport, a visa, travel
29documents, a Social Security card, a driver's license or
30other government-issued identification card or has made a

1misrepresentation to the United States Government;

2(12) has used multiple names to attempt to mislead or
3defraud; or

4(13) has engaged in any other conduct the court
5considers relevant to the risk of abduction.

6(b) Good faith.--In the hearing on a petition under this
7chapter, the court shall consider any evidence that the
8respondent believed in good faith that the respondent's conduct
9was necessary to avoid imminent harm to the child or respondent
10and any other evidence that may be relevant to whether the
11respondent may be permitted to remove or retain the child.

12§ 5208. Provisions and measures to prevent abduction.

13(a) Contents of discretionary orders.--If a petition is
14filed under this chapter, the court may enter an order that must

16(1) the basis for the court's exercise of jurisdiction;

17(2) the manner in which notice and opportunity to be
18heard were given to the persons entitled to notice of the

20(3) a detailed description of each party's custody and
21visitation rights and residential arrangements for the child;

22(4) a provision stating that a violation of the order
23may subject the party in violation to civil and criminal
24penalties; and

25(5) identification of the child's country of habitual
26residence at the time of the issuance of the order.

27(b) Abduction prevention orders.--

28(1) If, at a hearing on a petition under this chapter or
29on the court's own motion, the court after reviewing the
30evidence finds a credible risk of abduction of the child, the

1court shall enter an abduction prevention order.

2(2) The order must include the provisions required by
3subsection (a) and measures and conditions, including those
4in subsections (c), (d) and (e), that are reasonably
5calculated to prevent abduction of the child, giving due
6consideration to the custody and visitation rights of the

8(3) The court shall consider:

9(i) the age of the child;

10(ii) the potential harm to the child from an

12(iii) the legal and practical difficulties of
13returning the child to the jurisdiction if abducted; and

14(iv) the reasons for the potential abduction,
15including evidence of domestic violence, stalking or
16child abuse or neglect.

17(c) Restrictions.--An abduction prevention order may include
18one or more of the following:

19(1) an imposition of travel restrictions that require
20that a party traveling with the child outside a designated
21geographical area provide the other party with the following:

22(i) the travel itinerary of the child;

23(ii) a list of physical addresses and telephone
24numbers at which the child can be reached at specified
25times; and

26(iii) copies of all travel documents;

27(2) a prohibition of the respondent directly or

29(i) removing the child from this Commonwealth, the
30United States or another geographic area without

1permission of the court or the petitioner's written

3(ii) removing or retaining the child in violation of
4a child custody determination;

5(iii) removing the child from school or a child-care
6or similar facility; or

7(iv) approaching the child at any location other
8than a site designated for supervised visitation;

9(3) a requirement that a party register the order in
10another state as a prerequisite to allowing the child to
11travel to that state;

12(4) with regard to the child's passport:

13(i) a direction that the petitioner place the
14child's name in the United States Department of State's
15Child Passport Issuance Alert Program;

16(ii) a requirement that the respondent surrender to
17the court or the petitioner's attorney any United States
18or foreign passport issued in the child's name, including
19a passport issued in the name of both the parent and the
20child; and

21(iii) a prohibition upon the respondent from
22applying on behalf of the child for a new or replacement
23passport or visa;

24(5) as a prerequisite to exercising custody or
25visitation, a requirement that the respondent provide:

26(i) to the United States Department of State Office
27of Children's Issues and the relevant foreign consulate
28or embassy, an authenticated copy of the order detailing
29passport and travel restrictions for the child;

30(ii) to the court:

1(A) proof that the respondent has provided the
2information in subparagraph (i); and

3(B) an acknowledgment in a record from the
4relevant foreign consulate or embassy that no
5passport application has been made or passport issued
6on behalf of the child;

7(iii) to the petitioner, proof of registration with
8the United States Embassy or other United States
9diplomatic presence in the destination country and with
10the Central Authority for the Hague Convention on the
11Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, if that
12convention is in effect between the United States and the
13destination country, unless one of the parties objects;

15(iv) a written waiver under 5 U.S.C. § 552a 
16(relating to records maintained on individuals), with 
17respect to any document, application or other information 
18pertaining to the child authorizing its disclosure to the 
19court and the petitioner; and

20(6) upon the petitioner's request, a requirement that
21the respondent obtain an order from the relevant foreign
22country containing terms identical to the child custody
23determination issued in the United States.

24(d) Conditions on custody and visitation.--In an abduction
25prevention order, the court may impose conditions on the
26exercise of custody or visitation that:

27(1) limit visitation or require that visitation with the
28child by the respondent be supervised until the court finds
29that supervision is no longer necessary and order the
30respondent to pay the costs of supervision;

1(2) require the respondent to post a bond or provide
2other security in an amount sufficient to serve as a
3financial deterrent to abduction, the proceeds of which may
4be used to pay for the reasonable expenses of recovery of the
5child, including reasonable attorney fees and costs if there
6is an abduction; and

7(3) require the respondent to obtain education on the
8potentially harmful effects to the child from abduction.

9(e) Prevention of imminent abduction.--To prevent imminent
10abduction of a child, a court may:

11(1) issue a warrant to take physical custody of the
12child under section 5209 (relating to warrant to take
13physical custody of child) or the laws of this Commonwealth
14other than this chapter;

15(2) direct the use of law enforcement to take any action
16reasonably necessary to locate the child, obtain return of
17the child or enforce a custody determination under this
18chapter or the laws of this Commonwealth other than this
19chapter; or

20(3) grant any other relief allowed under the laws of
21this Commonwealth other than this chapter.

22(f) Cumulative remedies.--The remedies provided in this
23chapter are cumulative and do not affect the availability of
24other remedies to prevent abduction.

25§ 5209. Warrant to take physical custody of child.

26(a) Ex parte.--If a petition under this chapter contains
27allegations and the court finds that there is a credible risk
28that the child is imminently likely to be wrongfully removed,
29the court may issue an ex parte warrant to take physical custody
30of the child.

1(b) Hearing.--The respondent on a petition under subsection
2(a) must be afforded an opportunity to be heard at the earliest
3possible time after the ex parte warrant is executed, but not
4later than the next judicial day unless a hearing on that date
5is impossible. In that event, the court shall hold the hearing
6on the first judicial day possible.

7(c) Requirements.--An ex parte warrant under subsection (a)
8to take physical custody of a child must:

9(1) Recite the facts upon which a determination of a
10credible risk of imminent wrongful removal of the child is

12(2) Direct law enforcement officers to take physical
13custody of the child immediately.

14(3) State the date and time for the hearing on the

16(4) Provide for the safe interim placement of the child
17pending further order of the court.

18(d) Search of databases.--If feasible, before issuing a
19warrant and before determining the placement of the child after
20the warrant is executed, the court may order a search of the
21relevant databases of the National Crime Information Center
22system and similar state databases to determine if either the
23petitioner or respondent has a history of domestic violence,
24stalking or child abuse or neglect.

25(e) Service.--The petition and warrant must be served on the
26respondent when or immediately after the child is taken into
27physical custody.

28(f) Enforcement.--

29(1) A warrant to take physical custody of a child,
30issued by this Commonwealth or another state, is enforceable

1throughout this Commonwealth.

2(2) If the court finds that a less intrusive remedy will
3not be effective, it may authorize law enforcement officers
4to enter private property to take physical custody of the
5child. If required by exigent circumstances, the court may
6authorize law enforcement officers to make a forcible entry
7at any hour.

8(g) Fees and costs.--If the court finds, after a hearing,
9that a petitioner sought an ex parte warrant under subsection
10(a) for the purpose of harassment or in bad faith, the court may
11award the respondent reasonable attorney fees, costs and

13(h) Other relief.--This chapter does not affect the
14availability of relief allowed under the laws of this
15Commonwealth other than this chapter.

16§ 5210. Duration of abduction prevention order.

17An abduction prevention order remains in effect until the
18earliest of:

19(1) the time stated in the order;

20(2) the emancipation of the child;

21(3) the child's attaining 18 years of age; or

22(4) the time the order is modified, revoked, vacated or
23superseded by a court with jurisdiction under sections 5421
24(relating to initial child custody jurisdiction), 5422
25(relating to exclusive, continuing jurisdiction) and 5423
26(relating to jurisdiction to modify determination) and
27applicable laws of this Commonwealth.

28§ 5211. Uniformity of application and construction.

29In applying and construing this chapter, consideration must
30be given to the need to promote uniformity of the law with

1respect to its subject matter among states that enact it.

2§ 5212. Relation to Electronic Signatures in Global and
3National Commerce Act.

4To the extent permitted by section 102 of the Electronic 
5Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (Public Law 106-
6229, 15 U.S.C. § 7002), this chapter may supersede provisions of 
7that act.

8Section 2. This act shall take effect in 90 days.


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