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Custody Definitions

"Action" means all proceedings for custody, partial custody or visitation, and proceedings for modification of prior orders of any court. Pa. R.C.P. 1915.1 (2004)


Any unemancipated person under 18 years of age. 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5302 (2004)

"Custody" means the legal right to keep, control, guard, care for and preserve a child and includes the terms "legal custody," "physical custody," and "shared custody." Pa. R.C.P. 1915.1 (2004)

"Custody Determination"

A court decision and court orders and instructions providing for the custody of a child, including visitation rights. The term does not include a decision relating to child support or any other monetary obligation of any person. 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5343 (2004)

"Custody Proceeding"

Includes proceedings in which a custody determination is one of several issues, such as an action for divorce or separation, and includes child neglect and dependency proceedings. 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5343 (2004)

"Home County" means the county in which the child immediately preceding the time involved lived with the child's parents, a parent, or a person acting as parent, or in an institution, for at least six consecutive months, and in the case of a child less than six months old, the county in which the child lived from birth with any of the persons mentioned. A period of temporary absence of the child from the physical custody of the parent, institution, or person acting as parent shall not affect the six-month or other period. Pa. R.C.P. 1915.1 (2004)

"Legal Custody"

means the legal right to make major decisions affecting the best interests of a minor child, including but not limited to, medical, religious and educational decisions. Pa. R.C.P. 1915.1 (2004)

"Partial Custody"

means the right to take possession of a child away from the custodial person for a certain period of time. Pa. R.C.P. 1915.1 (2004)

"Person Acting as Parent"

means a person other than a parent, including an institution, who has physical custody of a child and who has either been awarded custody by a court or claims a right to custody. Pa. R.C.P. 1915.1 (2004)

"Physical Custody"

means actual physical possession and control of a child. Pa. R.C.P. 1915.1 (2004)

"Shared Custody"

means shared legal or shared physical custody or both of a child in such a way as to assure the child of frequent and continuing contact, including physical access, to both parents. Pa. R.C.P. 1915.1 (2004)

"Visitation" means the right to visit a child, but does not include the right to remove the child from the custodial person's control. Pa. R.C.P. 1915.1 (2004)