Philadelphia Child Custody Lawyer
Child custody disputes can arise in a number of situations. Perhaps the classic child custody dispute situation involves married parents who, due to irreconcilable differences or fault-based grounds, decide that the marriage can no longer continue. As the single household splits into two households, the divorcing spouses may disagree over where the child should live and how he or she should be raised. Child custody dispute can also arise when a marriage or divorce is not involved. Mothers and fathers have parental rights regardless of marital status.
For most parents, their child or children are the most precious and important thing in the world. Therefore, parents regularly want to ensure that they will continue to play a role in their child’s daily life regardless of what happens to their relationship with the other parent. The child custody and family lawyers of Sadek and Cooper are proud to fight strategically and aggressively for dedicated parents in Pennsylvania. To schedule a confidential child custody dispute consultation, call our law firm at (215) 814-0395 or online today.
How Are Child Custody Rights Defined in Pennsylvania?
Whether you and your child or children’s other parent are married and going through the complex process of divorce, or if you barely have any contact with the other parent at all, it is important to understand your rights with respect to child custody. Under Pennsylvania law, child custody is broken down into two distinct parts. It is crucial that you, as a parent understand the difference between physical custody and legal custody.
Physical custody is what most parents think of when they think of child custody. It is basically exactly what it sounds like. A parent that is granted the right to have physical custody of your child is the parent the child lives with and physically spends time with. When a child’s parents do not both reside in the same household, there is a question as to which parent will have physical custody and when. In Pennsylvania, physical custody can be held by one parent or shared by both parents.
Legal custody describes one or both parent’s ability to make important life decisions for the child. These life decisions may include the type of education the child will receive, how the child will be raised if he or she will be raised in a certain religion and many other important aspects of the child’s life. Legal custody also comes with the responsibility to make important medical and financial decisions for the child.
How Does a Pennsylvania Family Court Make Child Custody Determinations?
In Pennsylvania, the Court must determine what sort of custody arrangement are “in the best interest of the child.” That can be very subjective and there are many factors that must be considered. For instance, the factors a court will use to decide whether include:
- Whether a history of abuse exists for either parent.
- The parent that is more likely to encourage and continue interaction with the other parent.
- The household that is more likely to provide a stable community and family life.
- The parent that is more likely to attend to the emotional, educational, and developmental needs of the child.
- The mental and physical condition of other individuals in the household.
The court is also free to consider any other factor that it finds relevant to promoting or protecting the best interest of the child.
Further, although state law governs custody throughout Pennsylvania, each county has its own procedure in place and these procedures can differ in significant ways. In Philadelphia County, it is especially important that you understand how the child custody system works so that you have the best possible chance of achieving the best possible outcome for your children and your family as a whole.
What Type of Custody Arrangements can a Court Order?
After the court has considered the factors listed above and all other relevant factors contained in Section 5328 of Pennsylvania’s family law statutes, it must make a custody award. Potential forms of custody ordered by the court may include:
- Shared physical custody – When parents share physical custody of a child or children, the children will split time between the homes.
- Primary physical custody – In this type of physical custody arrangement, one parent has physical custody for the majority or all of the time. This is also sometimes referred to as ‘full custody.’
- Partial physical custody – Partial physical custody allows a parent to take temporary physical custody of their child for a limited amount of time. Partial physical custody includes weekend or other limited types of visitation.
- Sole physical custody – Sole physical custody means that one parent has physical custody of the child or children.
- Supervised physical custody – Supervised physical custody is most often associated with a parent with a partial custody award. The court may determine that a partial custody order is appropriate when there is concern that justifies observation over the physical custody period.
- Shared legal custody – In a shared legal custody situation, both parents share the responsibility to make important legal decisions for the child.
- Sole legal custody – When sole legal custody is ordered, only one parent has the ability to make important decisions for the child in the “Child’s best interests.”
The above sets for the various types of custody arrangements a Pennsylvania Family Court can order.
Work with Strategic and Aggressive Philadelphia Child Custody Lawyers
At Sadek and Cooper, our attorneys will take the time to understand your situation and to make sure that you understand what to expect from the courts. Whether you have been dealing with the custody system for years already or you are just beginning to have concerns regarding the custody of your children, the lawyers of Sadek and Cooper may be able to fight for you and your family. To schedule a confidential child custody consultation at our Philadelphia, Bucks County, or Delaware County law offices call (215) 814-0395 today or contact our firm online.