What are Interim Custody Orders?


Interim custody orders play a key role in determining where your child will live and who will make decisions about their care while your custody case is ongoing. Also known as temporary custody orders, these arrangements are put in place to ensure the safety and stability of your child until a final custody agreement is reached.

What Constitutes an Interim Custody Order in Pennsylvania?

An interim custody order typically includes provisions that address temporary custody arrangements until a final custody determination is made. These might include:

  • Physical Custody Schedule: The order will specify the schedule for physical custody, outlining when the child will reside with each parent or guardian.
  • Legal Custody Responsibilities: The order might specify the legal custody responsibilities of the parents – including the right to make decisions regarding the child's education, healthcare, religion, and other important matters.
  • Visitation Rights: If one parent is granted primary physical custody, the order might establish visitation rights for the non-custodial parent, outlining the frequency and duration of visitation.
  • Child Support Obligations: The order might address child support obligations, specifying the amount of child support to be paid by the non-custodial parent to cover the child's expenses.
  • Transportation Arrangements: The order might include provisions regarding transportation arrangements for visitation exchanges between parents or guardians.

Communication Guidelines: The order might establish guidelines for communication between the child and the parents, including phone calls, video chats, and other forms of contact.

Word Interim from Toy Blocks

When Can a Temporary Custody Order Be Granted?

The circumstances under which a temporary custody agreement might be granted by the interim order family court include:

Divorce Proceedings: If you are going through a divorce, the court might grant an interim order to make sure your child has a stable living environment until the divorce is finalized.

Custody Disputes: If you and the other parent are involved in a dispute over child custody, the court might grant an interim order until a final custody arrangement is reached.

Changes in Circumstances: If there has been a significant change in circumstances that can affect your child’s best interests – including a parent’s substance abuse, mental health issues, changes in living arrangements, relocation to a different city or state, financial problems,  or other reasons – an interim order might be granted to ensure your child’s wellbeing during the custody proceedings.

Factors that Pennsylvania Courts will Consider While Granting Interim Orders

  • Child's Safety and Well-being: The court will prioritize the safety, health, and well-being of the child above all else.
  • Relationship with Parents: The court will consider the relationship between the child and each parent, including the level of involvement and the quality of the relationship.
  • Child's Preference: Depending on the child's age and maturity, the court might consider the child's preference regarding custody arrangements.
  • Parental Ability to Provide Care: The court will assess each parent's ability to provide for the child's physical, emotional, and developmental needs.
  • Stability and Continuity: The court will consider the stability and continuity of the child's current living arrangements, including school and community ties.
  • History of Caregiving: The court might review each parent's history of caregiving, including their involvement in the child's upbringing and any prior arrangements for the child's care.
  • History of Abuse or Domestic Violence: The court will consider any history of abuse or domestic violence involving the child or either parent.
  • Any Special Needs of the Child: If the child has any special needs, the court will consider each parent's ability to meet those needs.

Who Can Request an Interim Order in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, any party involved in a custody case, including the parents, legal guardians, or other parties seeking the child’s custody (grandparents, siblings, or other relatives with a significant interest in the child’s wellbeing) can request an interim order.

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Steps Our Pittsburgh, PA Family Law Attorneys will Take to Help You Obtain a Temporary Custody Order


During the initial consultation, our Pittsburgh divorce and custody lawyers at Very Law will explain your rights under Pennsylvania family law and the legal process of getting an interim custody order. We will listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and discuss your case in detail to get a clear picture of your needs and objectives.

Legal Strategy Development

Based on the information you provide, our legal team will develop a legal strategy personalized to your specific circumstances. This strategy will outline the steps we will take to help you obtain an interim custody order.

Document Preparation and Filing

We will prepare all the necessary legal documents, including the petition for an interim custody order, along with all the required supporting evidence. We will file these documents with the family court on your behalf.

Strong Representation in Court

We will represent you in all court hearings related to the interim custody order. Our experienced attorneys will present evidence and arguments to support your request for temporary custody arrangements.

Negotiations with the Other Party

While protecting your rights and interests at all times, we will negotiate with the other party or their attorney to try to reach a temporary agreement on custody issues without the need for a court hearing, if possible.

Advocacy for Your Best Interests

Throughout the process, we will advocate for your best interests and the best interests of your child. We will present evidence to the court to support your request for an interim custody order that ensures the safety and well-being of your child.

Ensuring Compliance

If the court grants an interim custody order, we will make sure that the other party complies with the terms of the order until a final custody determination is made.

Appeals and Modifications

If necessary, we can help you appeal the court's decision or seek modifications to the interim custody order if there are any significant changes in circumstances.

Need to Get an Interim Custody Order? Our Trusted Pittsburgh Family Law Attorneys are Ready to Help You

Obtaining an interim custody order involves complex negotiations and presenting a strong case before the family court. At Very Law, we have highly experienced family law attorneys who can guide you through the process, protect your rights and interests, and secure the best possible temporary custody arrangement for your child.

Led by award-winning family law attorney Ryan Very, our legal team is equipped to handle a wide range of family law issues – from divorce to child custody, child support, alimony, and modification of child custody and support orders.

Call us today at 412-435-5193 or fill out our online contact form to discuss the possibility of interim custody arrangements with a proven and capable Pittsburgh family law attorney at our firm. If you're unsure about the best custody arrangement for your family, you may also want to explore our blog page discussing Shared Custody vs. Sole Custody: Which is Right for Your Family? or What are the Child Custody Rights of Unmarried Parents in Pennsylvania?

Ryan D. Very, Esq.

Ryan D. Very, Esq.


Like his grandfather who practiced law before him, Ryan Very is a zealous Pittsburgh trial attorney who works tirelessly to assert his clients’ rights and promote justice.

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