Parents Held in Contempt of Custody Order for Chronic Tardiness and Spurious CYF Investigations
Pennsylvania parents who have custody orders may experience frustration when the other parent does not comply. A recent decision of the Superior Court (unpublished) affirmed the Montgomery County courts, holding both parents in contempt for various violations of their custody order. In M.B. v. L.G., No. 2947 EDA 2013 (July 18, 2014), the father of a ten year old child filed a custody contempt petition against the child’s mother when she filed a frivolous PFA petition to thwart his custody rights, and initiated a CYF investigation that resulted in an unfounded report. The father also complained that the mother refused to use the Our Family Wizard software as ordered by the court to facilitate communications and scheduling between the parents.
Meanwhile, the mother filed her own contempt petition against Father, who was chronically late for custody exchanges (10 to 33 minutes) and made derogatory comments about Mother to the child and the child’s teachers. The Montgomery County court held a consolidated hearing on both parents’ petitions, and found both parents in contempt. Father took his lumps, but Mother filed an appeal, claiming that her actions were justified because she could not afford the OFW program and made her best efforts to comply with the custody order. Mother also argued that the judge was biased against her.
The Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s order, demonstrating that our courts will provide a remedy for violations of a child custody order.