One of the most emotional parts of a divorce is handling child custody. When parents split, several aspects of a child’s upbringing are brought into question. This can vary from where the child lives to the influence each parent has in their life. If parents cannot come to a custody agreement on their own, they may have to seek legal action to solve the issue. There are different arrangements for parents to consider when bringing their case to court.
Types of Custody Arrangements
There are different types of custody agreements that are settled to find the best possible situation for each case. In every custody trial, the judge works to find an arrangement in the best interest of the child. While many believe going to court for custody always results in one parent receiving primary custody, this is not always the case. Many cases result in a child having contact with both parents.
The types of child custody arrangements in Pennsylvania are:
- Joint Legal Custody: Both parents share the responsibility of making day-to-day decisions regarding the child’s life.
- Shared Physical Custody: The child splits their time between both parents’ households. The minimum amount of time one parent must have is 35%.
- Combination: A solution specific to a family in order to determine their best option. This is usually a combination of joint legal and shared physical custody.
Factors to Consider
When determining which custody arrangement is best, there are various factors that are considered:
- The best interest of the child
- The child’s age
- The relationship between the child and parent
- Both parents’ financial situations
- The child’s preference if they are of a certain age
- Possible history of abuse
Enforcing Custody Arrangements
All custody arrangements are considered to be court orders. Parents must follow these orders, otherwise, they may face certain penalties. If a former spouse is not cooperating with the agreement, you have a right to file a motion with the court. If the judge reviews the case and finds that the orders are not being followed, the parent at fault may be held in contempt of court and endanger their custody of their child.
Over time, it may be possible to modify a dictated custody agreement. All changes to a said agreement must be reviewed and approved by the court in order to be settled. Courts may agree to alter a custody agreement if there is a credible reason for it and if it is still in the best interest of the child. Certain factors that may persuade alterations could be relocation, loss of employment, changes in work, re-marriage, etc.
Changes in Pennsylvania Law
In 2011, Pennsylvania introduced child custody laws that allow for more of a modern interpretation. Certain changes include:
- Judges now have to provide an explanation for their decision
- It is required that parents give notification of relocation
- Consideration of criminal activity of any household members
If you or a family member are facing a custody battle and need an experienced attorney guide you through the process, contact the Law Offices of Ilkhanoff & Silverstein today.
The divorce process can be challenging, but our team at Ilkhanoff & Silverstein are dedicated to fighting for your best interests. Since 1999, our York divorce lawyers have guided our clients through this emotional and stressful time with compassionate client service and results-driven legal counsel.