Family Law Updates during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Image representing Coronavirus (COVID-19) molecule

The Family Law Unit at Philadelphia Legal Assistance is OPEN during the pandemic. 

Call our Family Law Hotline at 215-981-3838 for help Monday - Thursday, 9:30 A.M. - 12:00 P.M.

May 17th, 2020 Update: 

As of May 17th, 2020 All Philadelphia Custody, Support, Divorce, and PFA's proceedings that were previously scheduled through December 31, 2020 are canceled and will be rescheduled, except for protracted hearings. Protracted hearings are hearings scheduled for a full-day.

If your hearing was scheduled between March 18- December 31, 2020 it will be rescheduled and you should not go to court.

If you have an open case with us, please reach out to your advocate or call PLA's Family Law Hotline

Safety protocols around COVID-19 may leave survivors of domestic violence more vulnerable. Directives such as social distancing and self isolation can force survivors to be in close proximity to their abusers, make it more difficult for a survivor to leave an abusive situation, isolate survivors from available resources, and may worsen tensions in abusive relationships. 

Family Court Closures 

  • Philadelphia Family Court is closed through Friday, 05/29/2020.  This means that Family Court will re-open on 06/1/2020. This means a continuation of all scheduled court dates and most filing deadlines within this time period. 

  • What does this mean for people with court dates?  

    • People with scheduled court dates from now until 05/29/2020 should NOT go to their scheduled proceedings. All court dates are being automatically continued. Family Court should send out new notices in the mail as soon as they are operating.  

    • Make sure your mailing address is current. 

  • What does this mean for people who want to file family court petitions? 

  • People who want to file petitions usually available through Family Court will likely have to wait until Family Court reopens. You might be able to file under certain circumstances, which we will discuss further later in this presentation.  

  • What does this mean for filing deadlines (motion for reconsideration, exceptions, etc)? 

  •  Almost all filing deadlines have been extended to 5/1/20. People should try to file ASAP when Family Court re-opens.  

Protection From Abuse Orders: PLA parntered with Women's Law Project and Women Against Abuse to create a guide to filing for a Protection from Abuse Order in Philadelphia during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) court closure.'

Custody: Family Law advocates created this guide to maintaining custody exchanges during the COVID-19 crisis and how to file an Emergency Custody Petition if needed. 

Safety Planning: For some, more time at home can mean increased danger. Creating a safety plan specific to the COVID-19 crisis may help some feel assured. 

The Family Law Unit is open during this time and is available for intakes Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. (noon) by telephone (215-981-3838).