What is Joint Custody? Ask a PA Child Custody Lawyer
Get Assistance With Joint Child Custody
Child custody issues inevitably complicate any divorce proceedings. The key to getting through this difficult time is keeping the best interests of your children paramount. Although you may have negative feelings about your soon-to-be ex-spouse, for your children's sake, he or she should ideally retain a role in their care and upbringing. Most judges agree with the concept that children should be raised with equal contributions from both parents, barring mitigating factors such as child abuse.
What Does Joint Custody Mean?
The most common outcome of child custody cases is a decision of joint custody. Joint custody in Montgomery County PA encompasses the following three categories of sharing in your children's lives:
- Joint legal custody
Your children may live with you or your ex-spouse full-time, but you both have equal say in the care and control of their upbringing.
- Shared physical custody
Your children live part of the time, at least 35 percent, with you and the rest with their other parent.
- Combination of joint legal and shared physical custody
You and your children's other parent can construct your own special arrangement that combines both of these. Consult with an attorney to figure out what would work best given your particular situation.
How Does The Judge Determine Custody in Pennsylvania?
The judge in your custody case will ultimately decide whether joint custody is in the best interests of your children and which form this custody should take. The judge will take the following into consideration before making a final ruling:
- Ability of you and your ex to discuss and reach decisions about your children's welfare
- Your mutual willingness to share custody
- Your fitness as parents
- Your children's relationships with you and their other parent
- Which option would best stabilize your children's social and school lives
- Proximity of your home to your ex-spouse's
- The type of job you and your ex hold and the effect on your availability and ability to support your children
- The number of children you share
- The benefits to each parent and to the children of the arrangement
- The preferences of the children (assuming they are of an age to voice their opinions)
- The effect of the joint custody arrangement on any government-run support programs on which you and your children might depend
- Whether an offer of joint custody is being used as a tool to gain other concessions in the divorce
There may be other factors that come into play besides those already listed. With so many variables involved, it is imperative that you contact a Montgomery County PA family law attorney at the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, PC to help construct the best joint custody arrangement for your family. We will listen to your concerns and provide our recommendations for a joint custody agreement based on years of experience with the Pennsylvania family courts. Call today at (610) 645-0100 or (866) 290-9292.