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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are encouraging individuals to appear remotely via Zoom videoconferencing rather than coming to the Courthouse and appearing in person for court proceedings. To appear remotely, please follow the instructions provided with your court notice. In addition to remote court proceedings, many court services are available on-line without having to come to the courthouse.

More information is available on the Coronavirus Information Page.

Child Custody
Self Help - Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas

Effective January 1, 2020, except as specifically exempted by the Court, electronic filing will be mandatory in all new and pending Family Court case types. For full registration and filing instructions, please review the Independent Filer Instructions and OFS Family Guidelines documents under the Self-Help section of https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb

This informational section is for reference and research purposes. This section explains the basic forms needed for a plaintiff to draft, file, and serve simple Pennsylvania Child Custody actions in a step-by-step format.

A custody action is a lawsuit, usually between separated parents, over legal and physical custody of their minor child. State law authorizes courts to decide whether one or both parents make decisions regarding the child, with which parent the child lives (custodial parent), and how often the child visits the other parent (non-custodial parent).

Child Custody actions involve important legal rights. Only a lawyer can fully explain your legal rights and provide professional advice. Contact Lawyer Referral Service of the Bar Association of Lehigh County to obtain legal advice for a moderate fee (610) 433-7094.

For additional General Information about Child Custody in Lehigh County, http://www.lccpa.org/Family/Custody

The information provided in this section includes basic forms and instruction for starting a custody case in Lehigh County Court, and modifying or enforcing an existing custody order. The forms provided on this website may not be appropriate for everyone. The form links below are to forms provided by the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania and are accepted in all counties in Pennsylvania, unless otherwise noted. The instructions on this page are intended to assist you to complete the local steps in filing these forms in the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County only. These local steps will not be applicable in other counties.

For more detailed information on the Custody process, see Lehigh County Custody Office's FAQ page at http://www.lccpa.org/family/custody/faq.nex

IMPORTANT NOTICE: To complete a Child Custody action successfully, you must follow all instructions on the forms exactly as written. If you fail to do the steps in the proper order, fail to complete steps, fail to keep track of dates, or fail to file in the proper county, you risk delay or other legal issues. Completing the child custody forms and process is your responsibility. No additional assistance is available.

State and Local Court Rules Must Be Followed.

Show all Sections and Steps | Hide all

Filing for Child Custody - Parents
General Instructions To Parties With No Lawyer

There are complex rules of law that everyone who comes to court must follow. You must follow these rules even though you are not a lawyer because the rules exist to provide an orderly process to reach a fair conclusion. Click here

File a praecipe for self-representation with the Clerk of Judicial Records if you are representing yourself in a Family Court case.

COPE - Minor Children

All parties to a custody action must attend a class on the importance of cooperative parenting between separated parents. This three-hour class is offered twice a month in the courthouse, once on Saturday morning and once on Wednesday evening. Parents are not required to attend the same class. The program is presented by A New Dawn Family Solutions. Failure to comply with an Order to attend COPE may result in a finding of contempt, and sanctions imposed by the Court.

  • To view the COPE Schedule and download the registration form in English, click here.
  • To view the COPE Schedule and download the registration form in Spanish, click here.
  • To register and pay online visit the website of A New Dawn Family Solutions, LLC.
Section 1 - Form Preparation

A Custody complaint is filed when no prior order of Custody has ever been entered in any court.

Section 2 -E-Filing the Documents (OFS Odyssey File & Serve)

For full registration and filing instructions, please review the Independent Filer Instructions and OFS Family Guidelines documents under the Self-Help section of https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb

Filing a New Action
  • Go to https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb
    • Select the Family category and select your case type
    • Enter the party names and addresses
    • Select each filing code.  After selecting the filing code, you will be able to upload your documents
    • Confirm your payment information
    • Submit the filing to the review queue
Filing a Subsequent Action
  • Go to https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb
    • Choose File into Existing Case from the Filer Dashboard
    • Select each filing code.  After selecting the filing code, you will be able to upload your documents
    • Confirm your payment information
    • Submit the filing to the review queue
Section 3 - Serving

Now that you have completed the forms, you are responsible for providing a copy to the opposing side. This process is called "service".

Once your filings have been accepted through the OFS Odyssey File & Serve, you will receive an email at the email address that you used to register with, stating if your filing has been approved or denied. Once you have received the email stating that your filing has been approved, there will be a link to view the approved document(s). You will need to print out the document(s) to serve the other party(ies) in the case.

Step 1-Serve all necessary documents on the other party

Service is the delivery of court papers to a plaintiff or a defendant. Court papers may be served by mail, but you must follow very specific rules. Court papers may be served by personal service - handing a copy of the paper to the other party; but not by you or a person related to you. Proof of Service, called Affidavit of Service or Certificate of Service, is a form you must file with the court explaining how court papers were delivered to the other party. A court will not act on your case unless you have served the court papers and filed proof that you followed Rules of Court.

Step 2-Choose and complete the appropriate Affidavit of Service Form according to the instructions on the form.
Step 3-File Affidavit of Service

E-file the completed Affidavit of Service through https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb or by visiting the e-filing Kiosk at Family Court Administration, Room 423 between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm daily.

Filing for Child Custody - Grandparents
General Instructions To Parties With No Lawyer

There are complex rules of law that everyone who comes to court must follow. You must follow these rules even though you are not a lawyer because the rules exist to provide an orderly process to reach a fair conclusion. Click here

File a praecipe for self-representation with the Clerk of Judicial Records if you are representing yourself in a Family Court case.

COPE - Minor Children

All parties to a custody action must attend a class on the importance of cooperative parenting between separated parents. This three-hour class is offered twice a month in the courthouse, once on Saturday morning and once on Wednesday evening. Parents are not required to attend the same class. The program is presented by A New Dawn Family Solutions. Failure to comply with an Order to attend COPE may result in a finding of contempt, and sanctions imposed by the Court.

  • To view the COPE Schedule and download the registration form in English, click here.
  • To view the COPE Schedule and download the registration form in Spanish, click here.
  • To register and pay online visit the website of A New Dawn Family Solutions, LLC.
Section 1 - Form Preparation

A Custody complaint is filed when no prior order of Custody has ever been entered in any court.

Section 2 -E-Filing the Documents (OFS Odyssey File & Serve)

For full registration and filing instructions, please review the Independent Filer Instructions and OFS Family Guidelines documents under the Self-Help section of https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb

Filing a New Action
  • Go to https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb
    • Select the Family category and select your case type
    • Enter the party names and addresses
    • Select each filing code.  After selecting the filing code, you will be able to upload your documents
    • Confirm your payment information
    • Submit the filing to the review queue
Filing a Subsequent Action
  • Go to https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb
    • Choose File into Existing Case from the Filer Dashboard
    • Select each filing code.  After selecting the filing code, you will be able to upload your documents
    • Confirm your payment information
    • Submit the filing to the review queue
Section 3 - Serving

Now that you have completed the forms, you are responsible for providing a copy to the opposing side. This process is called "service".

Once your filings have been accepted through the OFS Odyssey File & Serve, you will receive an email at the email address that you used to register with, stating if your filing has been approved or denied. Once you have received the email stating that your filing has been approved, there will be a link to view the approved document(s). You will need to print out the document(s) to serve the other party(ies) in the case.

Step 1-Serve all necessary documents on the other party

Service is the delivery of court papers to a plaintiff or a defendant. Court papers may be served by mail, but you must follow very specific rules. Court papers may be served by personal service - handing a copy of the paper to the other party; but not by you or a person related to you. Proof of Service, called Affidavit of Service or Certificate of Service, is a form you must file with the court explaining how court papers were delivered to the other party. A court will not act on your case unless you have served the court papers and filed proof that you followed Rules of Court.

Step 2-Choose and complete the appropriate Affidavit of Service Form according to the instructions on the form.
Step 3-File Affidavit of Service

E-file the completed Affidavit of Service through https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb or by visiting the e-filing Kiosk at Family Court Administration, Room 423 between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm daily.

Filing a Petition for Modification of an Existing Custody Order
General Instructions To Parties With No Lawyer

There are complex rules of law that everyone who comes to court must follow. You must follow these rules even though you are not a lawyer because the rules exist to provide an orderly process to reach a fair conclusion. Click here

File a praecipe for self-representation with the Clerk of Judicial Records if you are representing yourself in a Family Court case.

COPE - Minor Children

All parties to a custody action must attend a class on the importance of cooperative parenting between separated parents. This three-hour class is offered twice a month in the courthouse, once on Saturday morning and once on Wednesday evening. Parents are not required to attend the same class. The program is presented by A New Dawn Family Solutions. Failure to comply with an Order to attend COPE may result in a finding of contempt, and sanctions imposed by the Court.

  • To view the COPE Schedule and download the registration form in English, click here.
  • To view the COPE Schedule and download the registration form in Spanish, click here.
  • To register and pay online visit the website of A New Dawn Family Solutions, LLC.
Section 1 - Form Preparation

A Petition for Modification is filed when a party desires to change an existing Custody Order.

Section 2 -E-Filing the Documents (OFS Odyssey File & Serve)

For full registration and filing instructions, please review the Independent Filer Instructions and OFS Family Guidelines documents under the Self-Help section of https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb

Filing a New Action
  • Go to https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb
    • Select the Family category and select your case type
    • Enter the party names and addresses
    • Select each filing code.  After selecting the filing code, you will be able to upload your documents
    • Confirm your payment information
    • Submit the filing to the review queue
Filing a Subsequent Action
  • Go to https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb
    • Choose File into Existing Case from the Filer Dashboard
    • Select each filing code.  After selecting the filing code, you will be able to upload your documents
    • Confirm your payment information
    • Submit the filing to the review queue
Section 3 - Serving

Now that you have completed the forms, you are responsible for providing a copy to the opposing side. This process is called "service".

Once your filings have been accepted through the OFS Odyssey File & Serve, you will receive an email at the email address that you used to register with, stating if your filing has been approved or denied. Once you have received the email stating that your filing has been approved, there will be a link to view the approved document(s). You will need to print out the document(s) to serve the other party(ies) in the case.

Step 1-Serve all necessary documents on the other party

Service is the delivery of court papers to a plaintiff or a defendant. Court papers may be served by mail, but you must follow very specific rules. Court papers may be served by personal service - handing a copy of the paper to the other party; but not by you or a person related to you. Proof of Service, called Affidavit of Service or Certificate of Service, is a form you must file with the court explaining how court papers were delivered to the other party. A court will not act on your case unless you have served the court papers and filed proof that you followed Rules of Court.

Step 2-Choose and complete the appropriate Affidavit of Service Form according to the instructions on the form.
Step 3-File Affidavit of Service

E-file the completed Affidavit of Service through https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb or by visiting the e-filing Kiosk at Family Court Administration, Room 423 between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm daily.

Filing a Contempt Petition for an existing Custody Order
General Instructions To Parties With No Lawyer

There are complex rules of law that everyone who comes to court must follow. You must follow these rules even though you are not a lawyer because the rules exist to provide an orderly process to reach a fair conclusion. Click here

File a praecipe for self-representation with the Clerk of Judicial Records if you are representing yourself in a Family Court case.

COPE - Minor Children

All parties to a custody action must attend a class on the importance of cooperative parenting between separated parents. This three-hour class is offered twice a month in the courthouse, once on Saturday morning and once on Wednesday evening. Parents are not required to attend the same class. The program is presented by A New Dawn Family Solutions. Failure to comply with an Order to attend COPE may result in a finding of contempt, and sanctions imposed by the Court.

  • To view the COPE Schedule and download the registration form in English, click here.
  • To view the COPE Schedule and download the registration form in Spanish, click here.
  • To register and pay online visit the website of A New Dawn Family Solutions, LLC.
Section 1 - Form Preparation

A Contempt Petition is filed when one party feels the other is in violation of an existing custody order.

Section 2 -E-Filing the Documents (OFS Odyssey File & Serve)

For full registration and filing instructions, please review the Independent Filer Instructions and OFS Family Guidelines documents under the Self-Help section of https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb

Filing a New Action
  • Go to https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb
    • Select the Family category and select your case type
    • Enter the party names and addresses
    • Select each filing code.  After selecting the filing code, you will be able to upload your documents
    • Confirm your payment information
    • Submit the filing to the review queue
Filing a Subsequent Action
  • Go to https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb
    • Choose File into Existing Case from the Filer Dashboard
    • Select each filing code.  After selecting the filing code, you will be able to upload your documents
    • Confirm your payment information
    • Submit the filing to the review queue
Section 3 - Serving

Now that you have completed the forms, you are responsible for providing a copy to the opposing side. This process is called "service".

Once your filings have been accepted through the OFS Odyssey File & Serve, you will receive an email at the email address that you used to register with, stating if your filing has been approved or denied. Once you have received the email stating that your filing has been approved, there will be a link to view the approved document(s). You will need to print out the document(s) to serve the other party(ies) in the case.

Step 1-Serve all necessary documents on the other party

Service is the delivery of court papers to a plaintiff or a defendant. Court papers may be served by mail, but you must follow very specific rules. Court papers may be served by personal service - handing a copy of the paper to the other party; but not by you or a person related to you. Proof of Service, called Affidavit of Service or Certificate of Service, is a form you must file with the court explaining how court papers were delivered to the other party. A court will not act on your case unless you have served the court papers and filed proof that you followed Rules of Court.

Step 2-Choose and complete the appropriate Affidavit of Service Form according to the instructions on the form.
Step 3-File Affidavit of Service

E-file the completed Affidavit of Service through https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb or by visiting the e-filing Kiosk at Family Court Administration, Room 423 between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm daily.

Filing for Relocation
General Instructions To Parties With No Lawyer

There are complex rules of law that everyone who comes to court must follow. You must follow these rules even though you are not a lawyer because the rules exist to provide an orderly process to reach a fair conclusion. Click here

File a praecipe for self-representation with the Clerk of Judicial Records if you are representing yourself in a Family Court case.

COPE - Minor Children

All parties to a custody action must attend a class on the importance of cooperative parenting between separated parents. This three-hour class is offered twice a month in the courthouse, once on Saturday morning and once on Wednesday evening. Parents are not required to attend the same class. The program is presented by A New Dawn Family Solutions. Failure to comply with an Order to attend COPE may result in a finding of contempt, and sanctions imposed by the Court.

  • To view the COPE Schedule and download the registration form in English, click here.
  • To view the COPE Schedule and download the registration form in Spanish, click here.
  • To register and pay online visit the website of A New Dawn Family Solutions, LLC.
Section 1 - Form Preparation

A Relocation Notice is filed when one party desires to move to another location inside or outside of Pennsylvania.

Section 2 -E-Filing the Documents (OFS Odyssey File & Serve)

For full registration and filing instructions, please review the Independent Filer Instructions and OFS Family Guidelines documents under the Self-Help section of https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb

Filing a New Action
  • Go to https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb
    • Select the Family category and select your case type
    • Enter the party names and addresses
    • Select each filing code.  After selecting the filing code, you will be able to upload your documents
    • Confirm your payment information
    • Submit the filing to the review queue
Filing a Subsequent Action
  • Go to https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb
    • Choose File into Existing Case from the Filer Dashboard
    • Select each filing code.  After selecting the filing code, you will be able to upload your documents
    • Confirm your payment information
    • Submit the filing to the review queue
Section 3 - Serving

Now that you have completed the forms, you are responsible for providing a copy to the opposing side. This process is called "service".

Once your filings have been accepted through the OFS Odyssey File & Serve, you will receive an email at the email address that you used to register with, stating if your filing has been approved or denied. Once you have received the email stating that your filing has been approved, there will be a link to view the approved document(s). You will need to print out the document(s) to serve the other party(ies) in the case.

Step 1-Serve all necessary documents on the other party

Service is the delivery of court papers to a plaintiff or a defendant. Court papers may be served by mail, but you must follow very specific rules. Court papers may be served by personal service - handing a copy of the paper to the other party; but not by you or a person related to you. Proof of Service, called Affidavit of Service or Certificate of Service, is a form you must file with the court explaining how court papers were delivered to the other party. A court will not act on your case unless you have served the court papers and filed proof that you followed Rules of Court.

Step 2-Choose and complete the appropriate Affidavit of Service Form according to the instructions on the form.
Step 3-File Affidavit of Service

E-file the completed Affidavit of Service through https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb or by visiting the e-filing Kiosk at Family Court Administration, Room 423 between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm daily.

Filing a Petition for Special Relief
General Instructions To Parties With No Lawyer

There are complex rules of law that everyone who comes to court must follow. You must follow these rules even though you are not a lawyer because the rules exist to provide an orderly process to reach a fair conclusion. Click here

File a praecipe for self-representation with the Clerk of Judicial Records if you are representing yourself in a Family Court case.

COPE - Minor Children

All parties to a custody action must attend a class on the importance of cooperative parenting between separated parents. This three-hour class is offered twice a month in the courthouse, once on Saturday morning and once on Wednesday evening. Parents are not required to attend the same class. The program is presented by A New Dawn Family Solutions. Failure to comply with an Order to attend COPE may result in a finding of contempt, and sanctions imposed by the Court.

  • To view the COPE Schedule and download the registration form in English, click here.
  • To view the COPE Schedule and download the registration form in Spanish, click here.
  • To register and pay online visit the website of A New Dawn Family Solutions, LLC.
Section 1 - Form Preparation

A Petition for Special Relief requires the simultaneous filing of either 1) a Complaint for Custody when the petition seeks to establish custody or 2) a Petition for Modification when the petition seeks to change an existing custody order.

Section 2 -E-Filing the Documents (OFS Odyssey File & Serve)

For full registration and filing instructions, please review the Independent Filer Instructions and OFS Family Guidelines documents under the Self-Help section of https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb

Filing a New Action
  • Go to https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb
    • Select the Family category and select your case type
    • Enter the party names and addresses
    • Select each filing code.  After selecting the filing code, you will be able to upload your documents
    • Confirm your payment information
    • Submit the filing to the review queue
Filing a Subsequent Action
  • Go to https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb
    • Choose File into Existing Case from the Filer Dashboard
    • Select each filing code.  After selecting the filing code, you will be able to upload your documents
    • Confirm your payment information
    • Submit the filing to the review queue
Section 3 - Serving

Now that you have completed the forms, you are responsible for providing a copy to the opposing side. This process is called "service".

Once your filings have been accepted through the OFS Odyssey File & Serve, you will receive an email at the email address that you used to register with, stating if your filing has been approved or denied. Once you have received the email stating that your filing has been approved, there will be a link to view the approved document(s). You will need to print out the document(s) to serve the other party(ies) in the case.

Step 1-Serve all necessary documents on the other party

Service is the delivery of court papers to a plaintiff or a defendant. Court papers may be served by mail, but you must follow very specific rules. Court papers may be served by personal service - handing a copy of the paper to the other party; but not by you or a person related to you. Proof of Service, called Affidavit of Service or Certificate of Service, is a form you must file with the court explaining how court papers were delivered to the other party. A court will not act on your case unless you have served the court papers and filed proof that you followed Rules of Court.

Step 2-Choose and complete the appropriate Affidavit of Service Form according to the instructions on the form.
Step 3-File Affidavit of Service

E-file the completed Affidavit of Service through https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb or by visiting the e-filing Kiosk at Family Court Administration, Room 423 between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm daily.

Filing a Petition to Intervene
General Instructions To Parties With No Lawyer

There are complex rules of law that everyone who comes to court must follow. You must follow these rules even though you are not a lawyer because the rules exist to provide an orderly process to reach a fair conclusion. Click here

File a praecipe for self-representation with the Clerk of Judicial Records if you are representing yourself in a Family Court case.

COPE - Minor Children

All parties to a custody action must attend a class on the importance of cooperative parenting between separated parents. This three-hour class is offered twice a month in the courthouse, once on Saturday morning and once on Wednesday evening. Parents are not required to attend the same class. The program is presented by A New Dawn Family Solutions. Failure to comply with an Order to attend COPE may result in a finding of contempt, and sanctions imposed by the Court.

  • To view the COPE Schedule and download the registration form in English, click here.
  • To view the COPE Schedule and download the registration form in Spanish, click here.
  • To register and pay online visit the website of A New Dawn Family Solutions, LLC.
Section 1 - Form Preparation

The form is to be used when there is already a custody case and a third party (grandparent or a person acting in loco parentis) wishes to join. In addition to the Petition to Intervene, you must file a Petition for Modification if there is an existing custody Order or a Counterclaim for Custody if there is no existing custody Order.

Upon filing a Petition to intervene, the Court will schedule a hearing before a judge and the Court will enter an Order granting or denying the request.

Section 2 -E-Filing the Documents (OFS Odyssey File & Serve)

For full registration and filing instructions, please review the Independent Filer Instructions and OFS Family Guidelines documents under the Self-Help section of https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb

Filing a New Action
  • Go to https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb
    • Select the Family category and select your case type
    • Enter the party names and addresses
    • Select each filing code.  After selecting the filing code, you will be able to upload your documents
    • Confirm your payment information
    • Submit the filing to the review queue
Filing a Subsequent Action
  • Go to https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb
    • Choose File into Existing Case from the Filer Dashboard
    • Select each filing code.  After selecting the filing code, you will be able to upload your documents
    • Confirm your payment information
    • Submit the filing to the review queue
Section 3 - Serving

Now that you have completed the forms, you are responsible for providing a copy to the opposing side. This process is called "service".

Once your filings have been accepted through the OFS Odyssey File & Serve, you will receive an email at the email address that you used to register with, stating if your filing has been approved or denied. Once you have received the email stating that your filing has been approved, there will be a link to view the approved document(s). You will need to print out the document(s) to serve the other party(ies) in the case.

Step 1-Serve all necessary documents on the other party

Service is the delivery of court papers to a plaintiff or a defendant. Court papers may be served by mail, but you must follow very specific rules. Court papers may be served by personal service - handing a copy of the paper to the other party; but not by you or a person related to you. Proof of Service, called Affidavit of Service or Certificate of Service, is a form you must file with the court explaining how court papers were delivered to the other party. A court will not act on your case unless you have served the court papers and filed proof that you followed Rules of Court.

Step 2-Choose and complete the appropriate Affidavit of Service Form according to the instructions on the form.
Step 3-File Affidavit of Service

E-file the completed Affidavit of Service through https://lehigh.tylerhost.net/ofsweb or by visiting the e-filing Kiosk at Family Court Administration, Room 423 between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm daily.

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Disclaimer
The forms and instructions that are available from this website are not a substitute for professional legal advice. Court employees cannot give you legal advice or help you fill out /complete the forms. It is your responsibility to read and complete the forms and to take required steps to file and serve the documents. If you decide to use these forms in an actual action, be prepared to spend appropriate time gathering information, completing forms and following the Rules of Court. The Court assumes no responsibility for the use of these forms and accepts no liability for actions taken by using these documents, including reliance on the instructions and/or contents. To obtain legal advice and to insure the proper use of this material, you should contact a lawyer.

If you want to obtain the service of an attorney, but do not know whom to contact, you should visit the Lehigh Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service website.

Tracking address: Tracking code - do not email: crt6-cabaab@users1.lccpa.org (do not email this address - tracking purposes only)

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