If you need legal advice concerning your rights in a dispute concerning child custody, contact one of our family law attorneys for guidance as to your options and alternatives. Each child custody dispute is different, and the facts in every case are unique to the family involved. We work closely with you in order to help you identify and articulate your objectives, develop a sound understanding of your rights and obligations under the law, and execute the legal strategy that is right for your goals and circumstances.
Child custody litigation can be a lengthy process since the court will have to understand many aspects of the child’s life in reaching a decision. Judges are required to decide child custody issues according to the best interests of the children involved, and they must make detailed findings of fact that demonstrate a careful consideration of the factors that Pennsylvania law deems most important, which include:
(1) Which party is more likely to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and another party.
(2) The present and past abuse committed by a party or member of the party’s household, whether there is a continued risk of harm to the child or an abused party and which party can better provide adequate physical safeguards and supervision of the child.
(3) The parental duties performed by each party on behalf of the child.
(4) The need for stability and continuity in the child’s education, family life and community life.
(5) The availability of extended family.
(6) The child’s sibling relationships.
(7) The well-reasoned preference of the child, based on the child’s maturity and judgment.
(8) The attempts of a parent to turn the child against the other parent, except in cases of domestic violence where reasonable safety measures are necessary to protect the child from harm.
(9) Which party is more likely to maintain a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship with the child adequate for the child’s emotional needs.
(10) Which party is more likely to attend to the daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational and special needs of the child.
(11) The proximity of the residences of the parties.
(12) Each party’s availability to care for the child or ability to make appropriate child-care arrangements.
(13) The level of conflict between the parties and the willingness and ability of the parties to cooperate with one another. A party’s effort to protect a child from abuse by another party is not evidence of unwillingness or inability to cooperate with that party.
(14) The history of drug or alcohol abuse of a party or member of a party’s household.
(15) The mental and physical condition of a party or member of a party’s household.
Whether your case is suitable for early resolution through compromise or mediation, or whether the specific details of your situation make it likely that your child custody dispute will need to be resolved by the judge, our attorneys are here to assist you. We are acutely aware of the fact that child custody cases are frequently highly charged and extremely emotional. Our family law group is focused on providing strong, sensitive, and realistic representation that is designed to assist our clients in reaching resolution in these difficult matters.