How to File a Pleading in Family Court during COVID-19

The Intake Unit assists self-represented litigants prepare complaints and petitions for custody and support pleadings via telephone appointments. The Domestic Violence Filing Unit assists self-represented litigants prepare petitions for protection from abuse orders. In addition, you can prepare pleadings yourself. Below you will find information on the Family Court Intake Unit and preparing pleadings yourself and how to file them. 

Assistance from Family Court’s Intake Unit

If you are self-represented, meaning you do not have an attorney, and want help filing a complaint or petition in child custody and/or non-interstate child support matters, you may contact the Family Court Intake Unit at 215-686-6311, extensions 19220 and 19221, between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M., Monday through Friday (except holidays). 

Court personnel will conduct an interview and gather your information. The Intake Unit personnel will mail the appropriate pleading to you with instructions on how to complete and return the pleading, and to how to pay the required filing fee if there is one. If you can not afford to pay the fee, you must ask for a Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis to be mailed along with the underlying pleading as described below.

Assistance from Family Court’s Domestic Violence Filing Unit

The Domestic Violence Filing Unit assists people file protection orders. To access the Domestic Violence Filing Unit, 

  • Call 215-686-6311, ext. 19217
  • From 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Monday through Friday

If you need an Emergency Protection Order, you can go to the Stout Center for Criminal Justice, 1301 Filbert Street from 5:00 P.M. to 8:00 A.M. Monday through Friday and 5:00 P.M. Friday to 8:00 A.M. Monday. To file for an Emergency Order, the filing incident must have occurred within the last 24 hours. 

How to Prepare Pleadings or Court Paperwork 

You can prepare a pleading yourself and submit it to the Court. Many pleadings can be found on the Court website under the “Court of Common Pleas Family Court - Domestic Relations'” forms. Additional guidance on pleadings can be found on our page as well. 

How to File: 

You can file pleadings by mail or email. For support only, you can also file directly through the online portal. 

  • By mail:  You can file completed pleadings by mailing them to the: 
    • Clerk of Court
      1501 Arch Street, 11th Floor, 
    • Philadelphia, PA 19102 or emailing to the court. 
  • By email: 
    If it is a… Email to: 

Custody, Support, and Divorce

drclerkroutine@courts.phila.gov

Petition for a Protection From Abuse Order

temppfa@courts.phila.gov 

Petition for Emergency Custody 

custodyemergency@courts.phila.gov

Note: Due to the time-sensitive nature of petitions for protection from abuse order or emergency custody, if possible you should try to file by email instead of mailing the petitions.. Please visit our page on protection orders and emergency custody for additional information. 

  • Online: You may directly file complaints for support and petitions to modify support online at the following PACSES address: www.childsupport.state.pa.us.