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Child Custody Laws in Pennsylvania

Child Custody Laws in Pennsylvania

Going through a divorce is a very complex process that requires a great amount of patience. One of the most important and emotional parts of a divorce is determining child custody arrangements. When parents separate, a child’s entire life and upbringing changes. In some cases, parents are able to come to a decision regarding custody on their own outside of court. Other times, they disagree on what the best situation is for their child and need the assistance of a judge to decide. In the state of Pennsylvania, there are several different arrangements for parents to consider.

Types of Custody Arrangements

There are different types of custody arrangements that may suit every family differently depending on their circumstances. In every custody case, a judge will work to determine a situation that is in the best interest of the child. The options available for child custody arrangements in Pennsylvania are:

  • Joint Legal Custody: When both parents share the responsibility of making any major decisions regarding the child’s life.
  • Shared Physical Custody: When the child splits their time between both parents’ residences. The minimum amount of time one parent must have with the child is 35%.
  • Combination: This solution is specific to each individual family to determine the best option for their circumstances. This is usually a combination of joint legal and shared physical custody.

Factors to Consider

When a court is determining the best custody arrangement for a child, they consider various factors about the family’s situation. These factors are a variety of things that help a judge to establish what is most beneficial for the child. Some factors considered are:

  • The best interest of the child
  • The child’s age
  • The relationship between the child and parent
  • Both parents’ financial situations
  • The child’s preference if they are of a certain age
  • Possible history of abuse

Enforcing Custody Arrangements

All custody arrangements are orders by the court. Parents are obligated to follow these orders, otherwise, they may face certain consequences. If a former spouse is not following the terms of the agreement, the other parent has the right to file a motion saying so with the court. A judge will review the motion and come to a conclusion if the parent is, in fact, violating the custody arrangement. If the judge finds that the order is not being followed, the parent may be held in contempt of court and endanger their chance for custody.

Changes in Pennsylvania Law

In 2011, Pennsylvania introduced new child custody laws that allow for a modern interpretation. These changes include:

  • Judges now have to provide an explanation for their decision
  • It is required that parents give notification of relocation
  • Consideration of criminal activity of any household members

Contact our Firm

If you or a family member are facing a custody battle and need an experienced attorney guide you through the process, contact Anderson, Converse & Fennick today.

Anderson, Converse & Fennick is an experienced law firm in York County, Pennsylvania focusing on Education Law, Family Law, Estate Planning, and Civil Litigation matters. If you need a knowledgeable attorney that will effectively represent your interests, contact Anderson, Converse & Fennick today.

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