Pennsylvania Family Law and Divorce
Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C.

Third Party Custody: Issues with School Districts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Below is a very realistic hypothetical dealing with children, custody, and school districts in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. 

Two children reside permanently with their grandmother in school district A, which is just outside Pittsburgh, PA. Their mother, who lives 30 minutes away and visits often, currently moved to a location within Pittsburgh, which is school district B. The children rarely go to their mother's home and spend the majority of their time with their grandmother. One day at school, one child informs his teacher than his mother has moved and states the general area where she moved. The teacher then informs the school's superintendent and the following week grandmother receives a letter informing her that the children will be removed from the school is district A and will need to relocate to the school is district B. The grandmother protests, as the children reside with her and she takes them to school daily, however the school insists that without a custody order, grandmother may not enroll the children back in school in district A. The children therefore are both removed from their school and begin missing crucial days of education and face potentially repeating their year in school the following year. Further, father is in and out of the picture and has little contact with the children.

What should the grandmother do?

Grandmother should first seek legal counsel. Grandmother needs to obtain a custody order from the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, Family Division for both primary physical and sole legal custody of the children. By ensuring physical and legal custody, grandmother will be able to make all educational decisions for the children. To obtain this order there are multiple courses of action, however as the children need to be back in school as soon as possible, it is necessary to chose the quickest, most efficient course. Grandmother could have a consent of custody order drafted and a judge could sign this consent order at motions court in downtown Pittsburgh family court. Alternatively, grandmother could file for a confirmation of custody and so long as neither mother or father object and are adequately served, a family judge can grant the order confirming custody and grandmother will walk away from a short stay in motions court with a formal custody order. A formal custody order listing the names of both children and signed by a Pittsburgh family judge should be sufficient for any school.

It is important to seek legal counsel in such matters to protect yourself and your loved ones from difficult situations as such. To find out more about custody, please visit the custody page on our website and contact us today with any questions! 

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