In any situation where child custody matters are addressed, a number of key questions are raised. Will you or the other parent be deemed legally unfit? How will your relationship with your kids change after a verdict? What are my parental rights? However, one of the most crucial concerns for parents, and one of the most weighty determinations for Pennsylvania judges, is each parent's right to legal custody.
When parents divorce, their family dynamic drastically changes. One of the most common points of contention involves who has the authority to make decisions in a child's daily life. Legal custody determines which parent has the right and responsibility to make important decisions on behalf of the child. These types of decisions are made about issues relating to health care, schooling, travel, religion and other significant aspects of a child's upbringing. When granting legal custody, a judge must base his or her determination on what is in the best interest of the child.
There are two forms of legal custody: sole and joint legal custody. If you're tangled up in a child custody case, it's important you have a good idea of what these terms mean. With that being said, the Lento Law Firm will give you a brief overview of legal custody in Pennsylvania.
Sole Legal Custody
Sole legal custody gives one parent the right to make important decisions on a child's behalf. It is assumed that these decisions will be made in the best interests of the child. To receive sole legal custody in Pennsylvania, the burden is on you to prove that the other parent doesn't have the capacity to make decisions that will fare well for the child. The court will look at all factors before making a determination, such as a parent's relationship with the child, whether there's a history of abuse or neglect, proof of erratic or irresponsible behavior when with the child and more.
Joint Legal Custody
When joint legal custody is granted, both parents share the responsibility to make important decisions on the child's behalf. This is the default arrangement for legal custody unless a parent can demonstrate an extreme inability to make decisions that benefit the welfare of the child. With this arrangement, the parents must establish an ongoing relationship that allows them to consult with each other and make wise joint decisions for their child.
Pennsylvania Family Law Attorney
If you're involved in a child custody proceeding, it's important you retain legal counsel from an attorney who knows their stuff. Joseph D. Lento has helped parents from across the state score an agreement that includes their contributions, protects their parental rights, and most importantly, reflects the best interest of the child. For more information about Mr. Lento's representation, contact the Lento Law Firm today online or by phone at 888-535-3686.