Pennsylvania Child Custody Laws at a Glance

Posted by Joseph Lento | Jul 08, 2019 | 0 Comments

When you have children in a marriage or relationship, the last thing on your mind is what could happen if things between you and your partner go awry. But when you split, you're forced to think about what went wrong, how you two can put aside your differences to successfully co-parent, and what's the overall best interest of your child. Revisiting this situation can be painful and the whole ordeal can be difficult to process, especially if you're still hurt from the split. This is why child custody hearings are the most emotionally charged court for parents.

There are ways to avoid a contentious battle in court. The ideal solution would be to have a polite and cordial discussion about things with your child will be going forward. Regardless of whether you find yourself in a heated battle or a respectful exchange, knowing the child custody laws can increase your chances of success. 

Child Custody Factors 

In Pennsylvania, child custody laws require the court to consider certain factors when deciding a suitable custody arrangement. Here are some factors that help the court to determine what is in the best interest of the child:

  • The parental duties performed by you and the other parent on behalf of the child
  • Which party is more likely to encourage and permit frequent contact between the child and the other parent
  • A history of abuse, if applicable
  • The need for stability in the child's education, family, and community life
  • Availability of extended family
  • Sibling relationships
  • The proximity of each partner's residencies 
  • The mental and physical condition of you and the other parent, etc.

Types of Custody Arrangements 

There are two main types of custody: physical and legal.

Physical Custody

Physical custody means you, as a parent, have the right to have your child live with you. The types of physical custody you can be awarded are divided into five categories.

  1. Primary: One parent spends more than 50 percent of the time with the child. 
  2. Joint: Both parents have physical custody for specified times. This arrangement works best if parents live relatively close to each other. 
  3. Partial: The parent with partial custody spends a decent portion of time with the child, but that portion cannot be more than 49% of the time.
  4. Supervised: The court was given a reason to monitor the time spent with one or both parents.
  5. Sole: Only one parent has custody of the child at all times. 

Legal Custody

Legal custody of a child means that you have the right to make the important decisions in matters like your child's schooling, religious upbringing, and medical care.

  1. Sole: Only one parent has the legal right to make these decisions for their child.
  2. Joint: Both parents have the legal right to make important decisions for their child.

Pennsylvania Family Law Attorney 

With all the things to consider in a child custody case, predicting an outcome in a hearing is pretty difficult. This is why it's important you retain a qualified family law attorney who has extensive knowledge of the state's process and has helped families get an arrangement that reflects the best interest of their child. To ensure your parental rights are protected, and your contributions are considered, contact the LLF Law Firm today at 888-535-3686.

About the Author

Joseph Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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