Courts in Pennsylvania will first encourage the parties to reach a mutual agreement regarding child custody arrangements. If the parents are unable to successfully make an agreement, the court will render a decision based upon the “best interest of the child” standard. 

What Types of Factors are Used to Assign Custody?

In determining which parent should be assigned primary custody, a court will typically consider the following factors:

  • Attachment or emotional ties between the child and each individual parent
  • The age, educational level, and mental and physical health of the child
  • Which parent is more likely to allow the non-custodial parent frequent and lasting contact with the child
  • The history of contact between the child and parents, especially including instances of abuse or violence
  • The physical and mental health of the parents, as well as their ability to provide financially for the child
  • Whether there are any siblings involved in the custody order
  • The child’s preference, depending on their age

Does Pennsylvania have any other special custody requirements?

You should be aware that each state has its own guidelines which govern modifications to the original custody order in the event that one of the parents moves. In Pennsylvania, minor relocations by the custodial parent, such as to a nearby city or county, do not necessitate a change in the previous order. 

What Happens once the Court Has Made a Decision?

A judge will sign the order, which will then be filed by the court clerk. The order will be final, and both parents will be bound by the ruling. Violations by either parent may result in a penalty or a modification of the agreement. 

Should I consult a Pennsylvania Family Lawyer for my Custody Issues?

In order to obtain the best arrangement for your child, it is important that you retain the services of a Pennsylvania child custody lawyer. They can best explain to you the various laws dealing with child custody arrangements, especially if there will be an interstate dynamic in the custody order. They can also help you present your case if you are seeking full custody of the child.