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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 11, 2017 09:54 AM
From: Representative Tedd C. Nesbit
To: All House members
Subject: Contempt of Custody Order
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce legislation (HB 2307) pertaining to child custody orders and parental contempt. The need for this legislation came to my attention when a contempt order entered by one of the common pleas judges in my district was overturned. While the Superior Court’s holding was legally correct, it also highlighted a need to change the current law.

In an ongoing and contentious child custody situation in common pleas court, the judge had found one of the parents in contempt for constantly failing to return the child on time and for refusing to make the child available to the other parent. The court had ordered that the other parent be given additional custody time, on a temporary basis, to make up for the time she had lost due to the other parent’s bad behavior. The Superior Court upheld the finding of contempt, but reversed the order for additional custody time, because changing the custody order was not listed as a permissible sanction under the Child Custody Act. This legislation will correct the situation by adding the power to temporarily modify the custody order when a parent is found to be in contempt.

I am told that prior to the reversal, common pleas judges regularly ordered make up time in such situations, and that in addition to be being perceived as a matter of fairness to both the parent and the child, it was often effective as well. As such, I think it is well-worth our time and attention to restore this fair and sensible remedy.

Please join me in cosponsoring this legislation.


Introduced as HB443