Family Law Unit


When a child is born, both biological parents have parental rights and responsibilities which means they can see and spend time with their child and make decisions about the child’s life. Custody is the legal term for which adults have control over a child’s life and there are two types: Legal Custody and Physical Custody. 

  • Legal Custody means having the ability to make important decisions for the child about things like their health and education. 
  • Physical Custody means having control over when and where your child will be with each parent or family member.

A custody order by Family Court can change those custody rights. For example, a custody order can limit or increase how much time a parent can spend with their child, or it can give rights to someone who is not a parent, such as a grandparent, if they meet standing requirements.

If you or your child is experiencing violence at home, getting custody can help separate from an abuser. You might also consider a Protection from Abuse Order. If you feel you are in immediate danger, please call 911.

Philadelphia Legal Assistance helps families with custody cases in Philadelphia Family Court. We help parents and family members prepare to represent themselves through information, legal advice, drafting pleadings, preparation for court, and self-help materials. 

Due to limited resources, most of our clients are assisted by paralegals, and we provide attorney representation based on our capacity. 

Intake Process

Family Law Hotline

Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 215-981-3838.