Apr 13, 2020

Notice to All Parents and Parties in Bucks County with Existing Custody Orders

During this unprecedented time many questions have arisen about what effect the Pennsylvania “Stay at Home” order and pandemic has on their custody arrangements. To answer some of those questions, on April 8, 2020 the president judge of Bucks County Court of Common Pleas, the Honorable Wallace H. Bateman, Jr., signed an Emergency Order (Emergency Order No. 2020 11 43 MM 2020).

Pursuant to that order, all existing custody orders shall remain in full force and effect. However, all custody orders are supplemented to include additional provisions and language. The additional provisions and language are to remain in effect until the expiration of the Governor of Pennsylvania’s “Stay at Home” order covering Bucks County.

The Emergency Order adds to all custody orders that parents and parties are to:

1. Adhere to CDC Recommended protocols for COVID-19. This includes handwashing, social distancing if around others and practicing social isolation.

Social isolation means that the only people in your home are the people that live there. No one should be entering the home of others.

2. Parties should refrain from taking any child(ren) to a public place.

Parties may leave their homes to report to work if their work is still deemed essential or to obtain essential items but they should not include their children in doing so unless necessary.

3. If a party becomes ill or if any other member of their household becomes ill they are to immediately report that information to the other party.

In the situation where one party becomes infected with COVID-19 or has a member of their household become infected with COVID-19, his or her custodial period will be suspended.

4. All parties are advised that failure to adhere to these standards can result in a party being found in contempt of court.

For further information regarding these provisions, how this order affects your custody order, if you believe they may or will affect your custodial rights, or simply have any questions – please contact your attorney.

Additionally, the court intends to ensure that all parties make decisions that protect each other and more importantly their children during this time. Accordingly, the court remains open and able to address emergencies. Please contact your attorney if you have a custody emergency, or you believe there is an issue that should be brought to the court’s attention.
To view the Emergency Order in full, please click here.

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