Chester County Child Custody Attorney
Our Legal Team Knows Chester Courts
For over 25 years now, Sheryl R. Rentz and her team of PA family law attorneys have been taking care of families in West Chester, Westtown, and throughout Chester County. Divorce is always more complicated when there are children involved, even if you live on the Main Line. To protect them and yourself, please contact us. We offer compassionate but tough representation where we put you and your children first. For a free consultation with a Chester County child custody lawyer, please call (610) 645-0100.
What Are the Types of Child Custody in Pennsylvania?
The two main types of custody in Pennsylvania are physical and legal custody. Whenever possible, Chesco judges try to keep both parents actively involved in the child’s life, and to that end, encourage shared legal custody. Here is how custody breaks down:
- Legal custody means you have the right to make important decisions in the child’s life, including what school he or she attends, what healthcare he or she receives, and how the child is brought up. Usually, the only reason a judge will grant sole legal custody to one parent is if the other parent is abusive or neglectful, or has been uninvolved with the child’s day-to-day life.
- Physical custody refers to the child’s living arrangement. If one parent is granted sole physical custody, the child will have one permanent home with that parent. The other parent is often granted visitation rights, unless there is a history of abuse or neglect. Commonly, the child will see the other parent every other weekend and one weeknight. The non-custodial parent may still share legal custody for decision-making. Joint physical custody means the child has two permanent homes and splits his or her time evenly at both. Although this is an ideal situation, it only works if the parents are able to get along, and if they live close enough that the house switching doesn’t affect the child’s school or activities.
Sole custody does give that parent the right to move to another state, so if you wish to stop your co-parent from leaving the state with your child, you must prove to the court that moving out of the state would be harmful to your child. Remember, only a short drive from Chesco to Cherry Hill in New Jersey crosses jurisdictional lines and can create serious legal complications when it comes to your relationship with your child.
How Is Custody Determined in Chester County?
If you and your ex can’t come to an agreement about custody, your Chesco family court judge will decide for you. PA judges consider many issues when deciding custody, including the following:
- Were you and your ex legally wed when your child was born?
- Is paternity established for your child?
- Are you and your ex willing to cooperate in co-parenting your child?
- What are the physical needs of your child?
- What are the emotional needs of your child?
- How much money do you and your ex make to support the child?
- Would your child rather live with you, or your ex? (This factor will be considered if the child is old enough to express a preference.)
- Is there any history of child abuse or maltreatment between you and your ex?
- Where do you and your ex currently live or intend to live?
- What is the situation for any other children belonging to you or your ex?
If you are going through a contentious divorce, or want to challenge a current custody order in Chesco, please contact the Law Office of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. We know the West Chester courtroom, the judges, and the clerks. We know how to present your case to its best advantage and fight for your parental rights.
We provide free and comprehensive child custody consultations, so give us a call today at (610) 645-0100 to get started.
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