Custody in a Nutshell

Custody - Legal OverviewSometimes when parents end their marriage, it is difficult for them to agree upon who should have custody of the children. The court uses a “Best interests” and welfare of the child standard to decide which custody arrangement will be best for the children. The court also takes into account various other factors, which include the desires of all parties involved; the age and health of the parties; the history of domestic violence, if any; and the relationships with siblings and other extended family members.

Joint Custody

Joint custody works best when parents are non-hostile and very cooperative. It also works best when the parents live close enough to each other.

Physical custody

Physical custody is determined by which parent has the children in their “possession”.

Legal custody

Legal custody is determined by which parent (or commonly both) has decision making power in deciding on important aspects of the child or children’s upbringing.

Custody in PA

VERY BRIEFLY: Regarding Custody in Pennsylvania, below is an abbreviated and very summarized version of part of what the Pennsylvania Pa.R.C.P. and/or Pa.C.S.A. provides.

The general rule is that custody will be awarded as is in the best interests of the child(ren).

§ 5303. Award of custody, partial custody or visitation.

(a) General rule.–In making an order for custody, partial custody or visitation to either parent, the
court shall consider, among other factors, which parent is more likely to encourage, permit and allow
frequent and continuing contact and physical access between the noncustodial parent and the child. In
addition, the court shall consider each parent and adult household member’s present and past violent
or abusive conduct which may include, but is not limited to, abusive conduct as defined under the act of
October 7, 1976 (P.L.1090, No.218), known as the Protection From Abuse Act.

Regarding shared custody:

§ 5304. Award of shared custody.
An order for shared custody may be awarded by the court when it is in the best interest of the child:

  1. upon application of one or both parents;
  2. when the parties have agreed to an award of shared custody; or
  3. in the discretion of the court.



When a relationship ends and there are children involved, it is vitally important that your rights, and the rights of your children, are protected by a lawyer experienced and knowledgeable in this complex area of the law that can aggressively pursue your goals.

If you have a question regarding the custody of your children or grandchildren contact our office.

Posted on December 16, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Custody in a Nutshell.

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