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Child Custody in Pennsylvania Divorce

By Sheryl Rentz on September 10, 2015

child custody hearing document

Almost half of our nation’s states are taking steps toward allowing more children to grow up with both parents in their lives after parents split. Currently, 20 states are considering measures that would change the laws governing which parent gets legal and physical control of a child after a divorce.

In Pennsylvania, the law DOES NOT favor either the mother or father. Pennsylvania courts work towards a shared child custody arrangement if possible. The benefits of treating mom and dad as equals are endless. Not only do studies consistently show that children want and need shared parenting post-divorce, but also that the statistics on the impact of single parenting are startling.

How Does The Judge Determine Custody?

It is preferable for parents to reach an agreement on child custody without involving the court. However, if that isn’t possible, a 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. They will look to the relationship of each parent with the child. 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

With so many variables involved, it is important that you contact a Montgomery County PA family law attorney at the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. to help build 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. Contact us today at (610) 645-0100.


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