Do Courts Favor the Mother or Father in Pennsylvania Child Custody Cases?

“Will the Custody court favor me because I am the child’s mother?”

“Will the Custody court favor my child’s mother because she is the mother?”

These are both commonly asked questions regarding child custody cases.

The answer, according to Pennsylvania law, is “no.” Pennsylvania child custody law is specifically gender neutral.

Title 23 Section 5328(b)

Title 23 Section 5328(b) explicitly states that “In making a determination under subsection (a), no party shall receive preference based upon gender in any award granted under this chapter.”

As I have discussed in past blogs, the factors that can give you an advantage or disadvantage in your quest for court-ordered custody rights are also explicitly outlined in Title 23 Section 5328(b) of the Pennsylvania Code.

One of these factors that may be affected by your specific parental relationship to the child (either mother or father) could be “the parental duties performed by each party on behalf of the child.” If your family follows “traditional gender roles” where the father is expected to earn the household income and the mother is expected to be at home caring for young children, then this could impact your custody case.

For example, if a father is not very involved with the day to day routines and caretaking of the child or children (e.g. father works long hours away from the home and the mother stays at home with the young child or children) then the court could find that the mother would be a better fit for primary physical custody of the child or children.

Gender Roles and Custody Considerations

Since these traditional gender roles are far less common than they once were, for another example, if the mother is not very involved in the child or children’s daily routine for one reason or another and the father is the one who provides the basic care and transportation for the child or children then the court may find that father is the best parent to have primary physical custody. Of course, these gender roles differ from family to family.

Many people believe that shared physical custody (sometimes referred to as equal custody or 50/50 custody) is the best possible outcome for the child or children. This can be highly contentious between some parents and may not work for all families but most Family Court Judges will consider this before deciding that one parent should be the primary physical custodian over the other. This is especially true when both parents have contributed to performing the parental duties in comparable shares, both parents have adequate housing available to them, and both parents desire to have as much custodial time with the child or children as possible.

There are many other factors that can come into play in a custody case and if you want to be sure that you are giving yourself the best possible chance of achieving your custody goals you should consult with an experienced family law attorney regarding your child custody matter.

Our Custody Attorneys Can Help

Please contact the Philadelphia custody attorneys at Sadek and Cooper Law Offices today at 215-545-0008 to schedule your free consultation.

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