Custody Laws In PA | Child Custody Laws In Pennsylvania

Child custody law in the state of Pennsylvania is determined by several factors.

Our office has been helping parents just like you get the information they need to make the right decisions during a custody case in Pennsylvania.
Call today to receive a no cost – no obligation consultation 717-737-3300

Once you have the answers to your questions regarding your specific child custody issue, it can help to make the process less stressful.  We are here to help you through this time in your life.

To be able to fully understand custody, you need to understand how the PA laws see a Child custody case.
The results of your custody case will impact all members of your family.  It’s important to fully understand what will happen.

Determining what a custody order is and how it comes to be is the first piece of information you will want.  So let’s talking quickly about what a custody order actually is and what it means to you.

An order of custody is the document that is signed by the judge that details and defines who and how certain decisions will be made regarding your child/children. These details cover areas of time spent with each parent/grandparent, medical costs and various other details that involve the well being of your child.

What is the definition of Custody in the state of Pennsylvania?
The law sees custody in two lights, Legal custody and Physical custody.  Let’s go over the differences.

Legal custody in the eyes of the law is broken into two areas:

  • Shared custody – this means that not just one of you will make all major decisions.  The decisions regarding your child/children will be shared with both parents/grandparents.
  • Sole custody – This is where only one of the parents is legally responsible for all major decisions for the child/children.

Physical custody is defined by the following types as determined by a judge:

  • Sole custody – This is when your child is in the physical custody of one of the parents/caregivers 100% percent of the time.
  • Supervised custody – During visits with supervised custody, there will be a second adult or agency that is assigned by the court to monitor the interaction that occurs between your child and the parent or caregiver.  Typically this will mean that no time alone will be shared.
  • Shared custody – When you share custody, both you and the other parent/caregiver will take physical custody on your child/children for set periods of time.  Details regarding transportation are detailed by the custody order.  Typically this is an even division of time between two households.
  • Partial custody – Much like shared custody that involves your child spending a portion of time in a separate location with a parent or grandparent, partial custody is not equal time for both parents but the time is less than 50%.
  • Primary custody – When more than half the time is spent with one parent, the law sees the parent or caregiver as having primary custody.  The secondary parent could have supervised or partial custody.

What goes into the decisions by the court to determine custody?
There are several very relevant factors that the judge will take into consideration.  The well being of your child is the basis for all decisions by the courts. 
Factors the court takes into consideration are:

  • What both parents/caregivers do in regards to parenting your child
  • Consideration of stability in your child/children’s life that include their community, family and education.
  • Physical as well as mental condition of both parents/caregivers
  • Household conditions including any abuse of drugs or alcohol
  • Ability to provide child care
  • Distance between both parents/caregivers household
  • Past or present abuse by either parent/caregiver, including any risk of continued harm to your child
  • Which parent/caregiver will be most likely to allow and even encourage contact between your child and the other parent/caregiver?
  • Brothers, sisters and extended family relationships are considered
  • Your child/children’s preference.  The court assess your child’s ability to make this type of preference

Keep in mind that the courts are looking at every aspect of your child’s life to fairly make a decision regarding the best, long and short term living arrangement for your child.

Know all the facts before you begin your custody case. 

Call us today at 717-737-3300 and get the answers you need now.  A No obligation consultation is your first, best choice.

What will be covered in our Child custody consultation?
Questions about how prior convictions and charges will impact custody

  • What is a parenting plan and will you be required to provide one to the court
  • What to do when you don’t agree with the court’s custody order
  • What happens if you decide to move out of town or out of state?

Our highly experienced family law attorneys can get you the right answers and help you thoroughly understand the child custody laws in PA. 

Your children’s well being depends on the information you know going into a custody law case. 
Call us now or use our consultation request form to set an appointment.