Jana R. Barnett, Esq
(610) 478-1860

Certain rules of conduct which generally apply to custody matters are set forth below and are binding on all parties. Violation of any of these rules could become the subject of contempt proceedings before this Court, or could be grounds for modification of this Order.  Custody orders are civil court orders and are not enforceable by police or other law enforcement. The word “child” is used below, but these rules apply to all the children in the Order.  If any of these general rules conflict with any specific provisions of the Order, the Order shall control.

  1. In addition to the rights in the Order, all parties shall also have the following rights with respect to the child:
    • The right to reasonable telephone contact with the child when they are in the other party’s custody.
    • The right to be fully informed concerning the progress of the child in school and the child’s medical status, including the right to obtain information directly from the child’s school or medical practitioner.
    • The right to be informed in advance before any important decision is made concerning the child and the opportunity to participate in those decisions.
  2. In the event of any serious illness of the child at any time, the party then having custody of the child shall immediately communicate with the other parties by telephone or by any other means, informing the other parties as to the nature of such illness.  During such illness, each party shall have the right to visit the child as he or she desires consistent with the proper medical care of the child.
  3. None of the parties shall alienate or permit an attempt by anyone else to alienate the child from the other parties.  While in the presence of the child none of the parties shall make any remarks or do anything which is derogatory or uncomplimentary to the other parties and it shall be the duty of each party to uphold the other parties as ones the child should respect and love.
  4. Both parties shall provide each other with the addresses and telephone numbers of where they will be staying anytime they take a trip with the child out of the jurisdiction of Berks County in excess of three (3) days.
  5. The parties shall not conduct arguments or heated conversation in the presence of the child or when the child can overhear the argument.
  6. The parties shall at all times consider the child’s best interests, and act accordingly.  It is in a child’s best interest for the parties to understand that the child is trying desperately to cope with the fact of his or her parents’ separation, and needs help in loving both parents and any other involved parties.
  7. Neither party shall question the child as to the personal life of any other party except insofar as necessary to insure the personal safety of the child.  By this we mean that the child will not be used as a spy on any other party.  It is harmful to a child to be put in the role of spy.
  8. The parties should remember that they cannot teach the child proper moral conduct if that party is indulging in improper conduct.  Children are quick to recognize hypocrisy, and the party who maintains a double standard will lose the respect of the child.
  9. Weekend and evening custody shall be subject to the following general rules:
    • Arrangements should be worked out beforehand between the parties without forcing the child to make choices and run the risk of displeasure.  However, the child shall be consulted as to their schedules when appropriate.
    • Custodial rights shall be exercised at reasonable hours and under circumstances reasonably acceptable to the other parties and to the needs and desires of the child.
    • If a party finds himself or herself unable to pick up or drop off the child at the designated or agreed to time, he or she should give immediate notice to the other parties to avoid subjecting the child to unnecessary worry or failed expectations.
    • The party having custody of the child should prepare them both physically and mentally for the transfer of custody to another party and should have them available at the time and place designated in the Order or mutually agreed upon.
    • If any party or the child has plans which conflict with their scheduled custodial time and they wish to change their custodial time, the parties should make arrangements for an adjustment acceptable to the schedules of every one involved.  Predetermined schedules are not written in stone, and the parties should be flexible for the sake of the child.
    • If a party shows up to begin their custodial time with the child and the party is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the custodial time may be considered forfeited on those grounds alone.
  10. If any party feels that another party has violated this Order, they may petition the Court as set forth in Pa.R.C.P. 1915.12.