Child custody in Pennsylvania is always a difficult subject. Nobody wants to face the possibility of losing custody of their children, yet it’s a possibility that even the best parents may face at some point in their lives.
Although the best way to deal with divorce and child custody cases is to seek the expertise of one of the many child custody lawyers in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas, you still need to know the different kinds of child custody in Pennsylvania and the terminology. Here’s a brief rundown on child custody and what it means to you.
Physical custody refers to a parent’s right to have a child live with them. This is the definition that usually comes to mind when people think about child custody. The public policy of Pennsylvania is that children do best when they have the opportunity to spend time with both parents. In many cases, shared physical custody will be awarded. This is usually the case when the mother and father live reasonably close together, can both provide healthy homes for their child and can co-parent reasonably well together. However, in other cases, one parent is given primary physical custody, if the Court feels that is in the best interest of the child. For example, one parent may have the child Monday through Friday, and the other parent exercises custody only on the weekends.
When a parent is awarded legal custody, they have the power to make decisions regarding their child’s upbringing. This includes decisions about education, medical care, and religion. Shared legal custody is common and requires that both parents are able to communicate with one another to decide what is best for their child.
Even when both parents have joint legal custody, one parent may attempt to act unilaterally and make solo decisions about how to raise the child. If this happens, the other parent can go to court and ask a judge for relief. If shared legal custody is awarded, both parents should work together together to reach consensus on the big decisions that affect the child’s life.
In many child custody cases, some form of shared physical and legal custody will be ordered. However, it is not unheard of for a judge to award sole legal and physical custody to one parent. This usually occurs if either the mother or father is deemed to be an unfit parent due to legal, drug or other issues. For example, if one parent is living with a new partner who is a convicted felon, it may greatly influence the outcome of the custody case.
If you are going through a divorce and you believe that custody of your children is in jeopardy, it is in your best interest to contact a child custody lawyer in Pittsburgh. Contact Allegheny Attorneys at Law. Our child custody attorneys will work to ensure that the rights of both you and your children are protected throughout any legal proceedings. Make sure you have a legal team experienced in family law on your side for any child custody dispute. Contact the legal team at Allegheny Attorneys at Law today.