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How is Child Custody Determined in Pennsylvania?

How is Child Custody Determined in Pennsylvania?

When parents go through a divorce, it affects the entire family. Children’s lives completely change from what they once knew as normal. During this time, parents must settle custody arrangements for the children’s future. There are some cases in which parents can reach an agreement on their own without the assistance of the court. Other times, the issue may need to be settled through litigation. In the state of Pennsylvania, there are different types of custody arrangements for families to consider.

Types of Custody

There are different types of custody arrangements to handle separate aspects of a child’s life. The type of arrangements that works for a family can differ depending on their personal situation. The main types of custody agreements for families are as follows:

  • Shared Physical Custody: This custody determines who the child lives and spends the majority of their time with. This parent is the custodial parent or primary caretaker. It is important to know that the child spends time in the home of the non-custodial parent as well. The minimum amount of parenting time they must have is 35%.
  • Joint Legal Custody: This custody allows a parent to have an influence over the child’s upbringing. With this, both parents are involved in making major decisions in the child’s life. This can include healthcare, education, religion, etc.
  • Combination: Every family situation is different from one another. A combination agreement allows for a solution that is specific to what the family in question needs based on their circumstances. Generally, this is a combination of joint legal and shared physical custody.

Determining Custody

Sometimes, parents are able to work together and come to an agreement regarding custody on their own. In the event that they are unable to, they may need a judge to do so for them. In the state of Pennsylvania, courts must rule in the best interest of the child when dealing with custody cases. This makes sure the child is placed in a happy and healthy environment that is best for them and does not only satisfy the desires of the parent. In order to make this decision, the judge considers different factors relating to the child and both parents. This can include:

  • The best interest of the child
  • The relationship between the child and each parent
  • Both parents’ financial situations
  • Any possible history of abuse
  • The child’s age
  • The child’s preference if they are of sufficient age

Contact our Firm

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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