How Is Child Custody Handled In Pennsylvania?
Custody is initiated by filing a complaint for custody. You can either be the custodial parent, who is the parent whom the child resides with primarily, or you can be the noncustodial parent, who is the parent whom the child doesn’t reside with the majority of the time. There are two different aspects to custody. One is physical and the other is legal custody. Physical custody is who the child is going to be with and when. Physical custody is broken down by primary, which is defined as a parent who has, in a two consecutive week period, more than seven overnights. They are called the “primary physical custodian”. There’s also a partial physical custodian, which would be the other parent, who has the minority of the number of overnights in two consecutive week period of time. There can be an equal arrangement (50%/50%) or there can be the most restrictive kind of physical custody, called visitation. Visitation is either court supervised or supervised by a third person.
Legal custody is the who gets to make the important decisions, which are education, medical, and religious decisions. Typically, legal custody is joint/shared. It’s shared so that each parent has the same say. Under some circumstances, one parent may have sole legal custody if the other parent is unable to exercise sound judgement. Custody complaints are filed where the child has resided for a period of six months or more. An emerging field of custody is “third party custody”. There are many people who are not the biological parents who are increasingly being recognized as having custodial rights.
The ultimate goal of custody is to serve the best interests of the child. Presumably, the parents would know what’s best, but parents are often the ones who are fighting over who the child should be with and when, so the court is asked to decide. In Pennsylvania, there are 16 factors which the court has to consider, in deciding who has primary physical custody.
For more information on Child Custody Issues In Pennsylvania, a phone consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (215) 750-9202 today.
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