Act 112: Section 5330 - Pending criminal charges

Section 5330 of Act 112 covers pending criminal charges and custody. Section 5330 permits a parent who learns of certain criminal charges against the other party (or a member of their household) to use those charges in court. The parent can go to court for either a new temporary custody order or an expedited (fast) custody hearing to modify the existing order.

Section 5330 only applies to those crimes covered by Section 5329, relating to criminal convictions. See our prior blog post for a list of many of those crimes.

When a court hears a request for a custody change under Section 5330, it must consider whether the party (or household member) facing charges represents a "threat to the physical, emotional or psychological harm to the child".

Interestingly, Section 5330 also protects a parent who chooses not to take the matter to court upon learning of such charges. 5330 (c) states that failure to take action under 5330 "shall not prejudice any party in a custody proceeding". So, a parent learning of such charges may take the matter to court under 5330, but will not be prejudiced if they do not.