Both parents have the right to custody of their child, and that's typically the preference of the courts. The idea is a simple one: each child and parent has the right to develop their relationship. Barring any serious issues like abuse or neglect, child custody is a right both parents have. Determining what that manifests as is another issue altogether.
I will thoroughly review your case, listen to your concerns and preferences, and outline the best course of action for you. I know you have your child's best interests at heart. To that end, I will make every effort to attain the child custody arrangement best for you and your child. Contact me at 267-931-7900 to schedule a consultation.
What is Child Custody in Pennsylvania?
When two parents are no longer together, one of the most important matters to be decided is who will have custody of their child. In most states, there are two different types of custody that the court must consider: legal custody and physical custody.
Legal custody is not related to whom the child lives with. Instead, the parent with legal custody has the legal right to make important life decisions for the child. For example, a parent with legal custody will decide where the child attends school and the type of healthcare they will receive. It is possible in some states for the parents to share legal custody.
Physical custody concerns where the child resides. It may be awarded solely to one parent, or it may be shared jointly between parents. Parents with joint custody will have a plan set in place that determines who has the child when.
When determining who to award child custody to, a court will consider what is in the best interest of the child. Some of the factors the court will look at are:
- Who can provide a safe environment for the child
- Any evidence of abuse
- The child's relationship with each parent
If a matter affects the child, the court will likely consider it when awarding custody.
Parent Plans and Child Custody in Pennsylvania
Once child custody has been determined, unless one parent has sole custody, most jurisdictions request the parties enter into a parenting plan. A parenting plan lays out what is expected of each parent to provide the child with the physical and mental stability they need to prosper. It can address everything from where a child lives, to the religion they will be exposed to. A parent plan differs from a parent order in that a parent order is enforceable by the court. The parent plan is an agreement the parties reach together, often with the help of mediation.
Unfit Parents and Child Custody in Pennsylvania
When a court reviews a case and determines that a parent is unfit, it is likely it will award custody to another party, and the court may allow the unfit parent supervised visitation. The court may also order the unfit parent to undergo counseling and parenting classes if they want to continue to have a relationship with their child.
While it is not impossible in most jurisdictions for an unfit parent to later regain custody of their child, it is not an easy feat as they must prove to the court the issues that deemed them unfit have been completely resolved.
Contact a Child Custody Lawyer in Pennsylvania Today
If you are facing a child custody issue, make certain your rights are protected by hiring a lawyer with experience in child custody disagreements. Contact me directly by calling 267-931-7900.