Dissolving a marriage means resolving a broad array of legal and financial issues, but few are as emotionally significant or complex as child custody arrangements. Laws in each state dictate how judges should make decisions, what options are available, and the rights parents and children have. Because the outcome of custody decisions can have a profound impact on the relationships with your children, it’s important to have a detailed understanding of the law.
A Guide to Child Custody Law in Pennsylvania
Types of Custody
Parents in Pennsylvania may be granted a combination of legal and physical custody rights. Physical custody determines where a child will live and with which parent they will spend their time, while legal custody grants you the right to make important decisions on your child’s behalf. When possible, courts prefer to make joint custody arrangements, giving the children the opportunity to bond with both of their parents.
Considerations in Making Child Custody Decisions
As in many states, Pennsylvania law requires judges to make decisions based solely on the best interests of the child. Making this determination means weighing a variety of factors, including the living conditions each parent can provide, the strength of existing relationships, and criminal records. Depending on the age of the child, the judge may also consider their wishes when deciding upon a custody arrangement.
Submitting a Parenting Plan
Ideally, parents should work out a shared custody arrangement between themselves and submit a plan to the court for approval. However, if no amicable resolution is possible, each parent will have to submit a comprehensive plan to the court detailing how they will be involved in the child’s caregiving and legal decisions.
Child custody disputes are difficult and legally complex, but a skilled legal professional will help you achieve a desirable outcome. The partners at Levy, Stieh, Gaughan & Baron PC have been serving the Milford, PA, area for 10 years, providing their clients with personalized attention and compassionate legal expertise. To discuss your child custody dispute and schedule a consultation, visit their website or call (570) 296-8844 today.