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Philadelphia Custody Complaints & Modifications Lawyer

Douglas P. Earl, Esquire knows how important your child is to you. Mothers and Fathers give their lives to their children. Pennsylvania judges must consider custody factors when making their decision in a child custody case. Douglas P. Earl, Esquire listens and prepares you. Douglas P. Earl, Esquire practices throughout Pennsylvania including Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Philadelphia Counties. Attorney Earl has even had a custody case in Erie County.

There are three types of custody proceedings:
• Custody Master’s Conference
• Custody Master’s Hearing
• Hearing Before a Custody Judge

Preparing for a Custody Master’s Conference:
• A Custody Master’s Conference is not in front of a judge and is not on the record.
• It resembles a mediation: if the parties agree on a custody arrangement, the master will issue a Final Order.
• If the parties do not agree, the matter will be set for a Custody Hearing before a judge.
• The Master may take testimony and establish a temporary order if one does not exist.

Preparing for a Custody Master’s Hearing or a hearing before a judge:
• The hearing is recorded, and both parties have the opportunity to speak (“testify”).
• Rules of Evidence apply, but judges and masters tend to be easier on pro se (those without an attorney) parties.
• After hearing both sides, a master will issue a Proposed Order.
• If a party objects to a Proposed Order, he or she may file Exceptions within 20 days and a hearing before a judge will be scheduled. If neither party filed Exceptions within 20 days, the Proposed Order become a Final Order.
• Before the Proposed Order becomes a Final Order, it does not take effect and it is not yet an order of the court.
• After hearing from both sides, a judge will issue a Final or an Interim Order.

February 15, 2024: N.S. vs. A.P. – Father wins fight for primary custody! Douglas P. Earl, Esquire represents father in petitioning Family Court to change the custody order. Father has partial physical custody. He wants primary physical custody of his seven year old son. Court grants Father’s petition for primary custody. First there was hearing with judge who ordered therapy for the child and continued the case. Judge grants father primary custody at second hearing with judge after the evidence shows the child was not being treated right at the home of the mother.


April 17, 2023: Nyesha Glenn vs. Quanza Taylor and Quamair Hunter – Another success story. Douglas P. Earl, Esquire represents Nyesha Glenn. Her three month old baby was in the custody of the father and the paternal grandmother. Judge orders the baby returned to the mother after a contested hearing. Mr. Earl was ready with exhibits including an email from the hospital social worker.


March 31, 2023: Faoud Baksh vs. Coleen De Freitas – Douglas P. Earl, Esquire represents Coleen De Freitas, the mother, in Philadelphia Family Court in her quest for her 5 year old son relocate and live with her on Long Island, New York.  Child had been living with Father in Philadelphia.  Judge grants Mother’s request. Child will be living with Mother in Long Island.  It was a hard fought battle.  Mother won because her exhibits, many photographs of the Child with Mother and her other children as well as information about proposed school, were presented to the Judge.


November 6, 2020 Velazquez vs. Jabarin, Philadelphia Family Court Judge grants Mother’s Contempt petition against father. Father withheld child claiming that it was not safe for child to travel because of corona virus. Mother lives in Florida. Judge grants Attorney Earl’s request that Mother start period of shared custody of four year old child , plus Mother have make up time for missed time with child. Judge also grants Attorney Earl’s request that Mother be reimbursed for the attorney fees she paid Mr. Earl.


October 23, 2020 – Smith vs. Riley, Philadelphia Family Court – Douglas P. Earl, Esquire successfully defends Mother against Petition to Modify Custody Order by Father.  Father claiming that Mother allowed a prohibited party from being with their 8 year old daughter. Custody Order was that boyfriend of Mother could not be in presence of child. Boyfriend of Mother had a conviction for firearm offense. Father produced video of boyfriend of Mother being in the presence of the child. Attorney Earl argued that child should testify. Attorney Earl cross examined Father to bring to the attention of the court that the daughter was a happy child. Firearm offense not enumerated offense in Domestic Relations Custody law. Judge denied request by Father to have primary custody. Court changed Order to permit the live in boyfriend to live with Mother and child. Child testified that she was bonded with boyfriend and the other child of boyfriend. See also google review. Testimony also clear that Mother active in meeting needs of child.


Before your hearing, you must gather all your evidence. It is important to know what types of evidence the judge or master might consider and how you should present your evidence. The judge or master will decide whether or not to consider your evidence based on the Rules of Evidence.


What follows is a description of basic types of evidence and how to introduce them. Always be sure to bring three (3) copies of each item: one for you, one for the other party, and one for the master or judge.

1. Medical Evidence
2. Pictures
3. School Records
4. Letters, e-mails, and text messages from the opposing party or witness
5. Phone records and/or audio or video recordings
6. Police Reports

When you want to move, a formal notice to your ex can save you a lot of grief in the future. Under Pennsylvania’s Child Custody Act, relocation is defined as “a change in residence of the child which significantly impairs the ability of a non-relocating party to exercise custodial rights.” The Act requires the parent who intends to relocate to provide formal notice to the other parent. Douglas P. Earl, Esquire has vast experience in relocation cases.

§ 5337 Relocation, states No relocation shall occur unless:

(1) every individual who has custody rights to the child consents to the proposed relocation; or

(2) the court approves the proposed relocation.

It is important to show the court that your relocation will improve the lives of you and your child or children. You should show that you have researched the schools you want your child to attend.

§ 5328. Factors to consider when awarding custody are:

(a) Factors.–In ordering any form of custody, the court shall determine the best interest of the child by considering all relevant factors, giving weighted consideration to those factors which affect the safety of the child, including the following:

(1) Which party is more likely to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and another party.

(2) The present and past abuse committed by a party or member of the party’s household, whether there is a continued risk of harm to the child or an abused party and which party can better provide adequate physical safeguards and supervision of the child.

(2.1) The information set forth in section 5329.1(a) (relating to consideration of child abuse and involvement with protective services).

(3) The parental duties performed by each party on behalf of the child.

(4) The need for stability and continuity in the child’s education, family life and community life.

(5) The availability of extended family.

(6) The child’s sibling relationships.

(7) The well-reasoned preference of the child, based on the child’s maturity and judgment.

(8) The attempts of a parent to turn the child against the other parent, except in cases of domestic violence where reasonable safety measures are necessary to protect the child from harm.

(9) Which party is more likely to maintain a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship with the child adequate for the child’s emotional needs.

(10) Which party is more likely to attend to the daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational and special needs of the child.

(11) The proximity of the residences of the parties.

(12) Each party’s availability to care for the child or ability to make appropriate child-care arrangements.

(13) The level of conflict between the parties and the willingness and ability of the parties to cooperate with one another. A party’s effort to protect a child from abuse by another party is not evidence of unwillingness or inability to cooperate with that party.

(14) The history of drug or alcohol abuse of a party or member of a party’s household.

(15) The mental and physical condition of a party or member of a party’s household.

(16) Any other relevant factor.

(b) Gender neutral.–In making a determination under subsection (a), no party shall receive preference based upon gender in any award granted under this chapter.

© Grandparents and great-grandparents.–

(1) In ordering partial physical custody or supervised physical custody to a party who has standing under section 5325(1) or (2) (relating to standing for partial physical custody and supervised physical custody), the court shall consider the following:

(I) the amount of personal contact between the child and the party prior to the filing of the action;

(ii) whether the award interferes with any parent-child relationship; and

(iii) whether the award is in the best interest of the child.

(2) In ordering partial physical custody or supervised physical custody to a parent’s parent or grandparent who has standing under section 5325(3), the court shall consider whether the award:

(I) interferes with any parent-child relationship; and

(ii) is in the best interest of the child.

Effective Advice About Following Custody Orders
Helping you make informed, intelligent decisions during difficult times
At the Law Office of Douglas Earl LLC, we have handled literally thousands of custody cases. With 29 years of experience on our side, you can be confident that we have the skills necessary to be your advocate.
When you turn to us, we will listen to you and work hard to pursue an outcome that is right for you.

When Child Custody Orders Are Not Followed
After a divorce is finalized, the resulting child custody order is legally binding. It must be followed. If your former spouse is not following these guidelines, you have the ability to take action. We can help.
If you have been accused of not following a custody order, you could be found in contempt of court. We will help you explain your side of the story and protect your rights.

When Child Custody Orders No Longer Work
When circumstances change, child custody arrangements may need modification to be workable. Your divorce orders and custody arrangements are not set in stone. If there has been a significant change in circumstances, you can seek modification.

Some examples of changes in circumstances include:

  • Remarriage
  • New children
  • Dangerous conditions (e.g., drugs and mental illness)
  • Relocation
  • We can help you pursue any changes that are necessary.

We Fight for You!
Custody complaints may require a fight in the courtroom. Similarly, petitions to modify custody arrangements may be fought by your former spouse. We know how to aggressively press for results that meet your goals.
You deserve a lawyer who will stand up for you and fight to get you positive results.

We’re Here When You Need Us
We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help people in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania.
Contact an experienced family law attorney today.

Contact Me Now For A Free Consultation

Phone: (215) 627-5970.  Telephone is answered 24 hours a day.  Available all hours when there is an emergency.