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If i have pfa against father of unborn baby, can he get any custody other than supervised visits?

Quakertown, PA |

He has a substance abuse history and continues to drink alcohol. This was planned baby and since he has called baby mistake and walked in and out throughout past 6 months of pregnancy. He pushed me and hit me while pregnant with her (i'm 6 months) and has temper/anger issues. Has put fist in my face and said " wish I could punch you in the face right now" while pregnant. Was fired less than a year ago for drug abuse/running from drug test on the job. One day he wants to rub my belly and have a family, next day he's walking out. Clearly he's not a stable/safe person for a baby to be around. I just got a pfa for 9 months, but he (more his parents) is threatening to take me for partial custody. Can he get any more than supervised visits with this kind of history? Im scared for her safety..

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Attorney answers 2


It all depends. However, in the facts you've provided, it appears that the father has a real anger management issue and the court will likely require he undergo counseling and treatment prior to providing him with any sort of visitation, supervised or otherwise. In PA, the courts are now required to have any individual undergo a 'risk assessment' if they have a conviction for an assaultive offense to a child. It does not appear that he was convicted of such, however, your facts outline a PFA being entered. I would suggest that if files a custody complaint, you seek qualified legal counsel. I would be suprised to learn that he receives partial custody, without at least supervised visitation initially, given the horrible circumstances you've outlined here.


The Court must consider the best interests of the child in ANY custody action, and there are sixteen factors the court must consider. All of them are under the umbrella of protecting the child and keeping the child safe. You should seek legal counsel immediately and be prepared to file a Complaint in Custody requesting primary custody of your child and supervised visitation for father. The complaint should be filed as soon as your baby is born. Given the facts as you stated, your ability to prove them in Court, and the existing Protection from Abuse Order, you may be successful in preventing partial custody and obtaining supervised custody as a start. My concern is that your PFA Order is only for six months and not thirty-six months, and we would need to explore why. There are no guarantees on what the Court will Order as it depends on a host of things - the facts, whether or not a judge believes the facts as you state them, the evidence you can produce, the quality of your representation, and most of all - you.