Child custody is generally the number one issue for any divorcing parent, and for obvious reasons. This is why if you are currently seeking custody, you must continue reading and speak with our knowledgeable Pennsylvania family law attorney to learn more about child custody and how our firm can help you through the legal process ahead. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What is the difference between physical and legal custody?

There are two primary types of child custody in Pennsylvania: legal custody and physical custody. While physical custody primarily deals with where the child will live, legal custody gives a parent the legal authority to make certain critical decisions on behalf of his or her child, including the type of religion the child will practice, whether the child can receive certain types of medical treatment, and where the child goes to school.

How do courts in Pennsylvania determine child custody?

In most cases, Pennsylvania courts prefer to award joint custody, where both parents can share physical and legal custody of their children because this will provide the child with as well-rounded of an environment as possible. However, their primary concern is the well-being of the child, which is why if they determine that one parent is unfit to raise the child, they will most likely award the other parent sole custody. That being said, this only happens in extreme situations, such as when one parent has a substance abuse issue or exposes the child to an incident of domestic violence.

Can I modify my custody agreement?

In many cases, you can, as long as you can prove that there has been a significant change in circumstances. For example, if you were denied custody of your child based on the fact that you had a substance abuse issue, though you are now clean and can prove that you received treatment and are otherwise ready and willing to be a responsible parent, you may have your custody agreement modified to better reflect your current situation. Conversely, if you are someone who believes your former spouse recently developed a substance abuse issue, or that your former spouse is otherwise a danger to your child, you and your attorney may work to prove as much so you can obtain sole custody.


We understand that going through the legal system alone can be both confusing and highly stressful. That is why it is our job to help you through every step of the process ahead. For years, we have been helping clients throughout Lancaster County and its surrounding areas through a wide range of legal matters, including personal injury cases, criminal defense matters, family law issues, estate planning law matters, and more. If you need legal assistance, we are here to help. Contact Ilkhanoff & Silverstein today.