Modifying a Custody Order

If a custody order already exists, but circumstances have changed, then you can file a Petition for Modification along with a Scheduling Order. There is a separate packet available on the Supreme Court's Web Site for your use regarding modifying a custody order. (Although you may use the Order found on the Supreme Court's web page, the Modification Scheduling Order found on the Westmoreland County Custody Forms web page is specifically adapted to county practice.)

If a custody order does not already exist or if there are problems enforcing the already existing order, then you should get one of the other packets and follow the instruction in those packets regarding your request to start a custody action, relocate or enforce the existing custody Order.

If you have an agreement:


Prepare the agreement as an agreed Order and file it in the Prothonotary’s Office.
Use the Custody Agreement package located on the Westmoreland County Custody Forms web page.

If you do not have an Agreement, you must:


a.



Prepare Petition for Modification, Scheduling Order and Criminal Record/Abuse History Verification forms found on the Supreme Court's Web Site and bring completed forms to the Custody Office. (Although you may use the Order found on the Supreme Court's web page, the Custody Scheduling Order found on the Westmoreland County Custody Forms web page is specifically adapted to county practice.) At that time, you will be given a hearing date.
b.
Take the Petition and Scheduling Order to the assigned Judge (the Custody Secretary will direct you to the proper office before leaving the office).
c.



You will be ordered to attend a custody conciliation conference. After the scheduling order has been signed by the Judge, take the Complaint, Criminal Record/Abuse History Verification Form and Scheduling Order, along with three copies, to the Prothonotary’s Office (5th Floor, Courthouse Annex) for filing. File the original and one copy with the Prothonotary. One copy is for you and the other copy must be served on the Defendant.
d.



Each Party will be ORDERED on the County's Custody Scheduling Order, to submit to the Custody Office, pursuant to Westmoreland County Rule of Civil Procedure W1915.4-3, a completed Parent Information Form found on the Westmoreland County Custody Forms web page and proof of his or her most recent earnings at the time of the conference. The Petitioner will also be ORDERED to serve a blank copy of the Parent Information Form and the Criminal Record/Abuse History Verification form on the Respondent.
e.






Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 440 requires that Service of Legal Papers other than Original Process must be properly served on all other parties, or their attorney, if any. Service can be made by mailing a copy of the Petition for Modification of Custody, the Scheduling Order, a blank Criminal Record/Abuse History Verification form, and a blank Parent Information Form to the defendant by U.S. first class mail, by personal service, or by acceptance of service.
Complete the Acceptance of Service - Modification, Affidavit of Service - Modification - First Class Mail or Affidavit of Service - Modification - Personal Service found on the Westmoreland County Custody Forms web page. If you do not properly serve all other parties, your case may be delayed, or even dismissed.