How Can I Get Custody of My Child in Pennsylvania?

Child custody disputes add another stressor to the already emotional divorce settlement process. Read along to see how a knowledgeable York City, PA child custody attorney at Ilkhanoff & Silverstein can help you navigate what circumstances the Pennsylvania courts look at and also fight for the care and upbringing that is in the best interest of your minor child.

What are the types of child custody?

With joint custody, both parents are recognized as custodial parents and will share responsibilities equally. This includes both physical and legal custody. Physical custody allows a parent to have the child will live with them while legal custody gives a parent the authority to make critical life decisions on behalf of a child, such as education, religion, and healthcare.

With that, the types of child custody recognized by the state of Pennsylvania include the following:

  • Joint legal custody: both parents are given shared responsibility in making life decisions for the child, however, the child resides primarily with one parent.
  • Shared physical custody: the child splits their time between the two residences, at a minimum of being with one parent 35% of the time.
  • Combination: a unique combination of joint legal custody and shared physical custody.

What factors do Pennsylvania courts consider when determining child custody?

In most cases, Pennsylvania courts favor joint custody. Nonetheless, the courts will consider various factors to make a decision based on the best interest of the child, including but not limited to:

  • The child’s relationship with each parent.
  • Each parent’s financial situation.
  • The child’s preference, if of sufficient age.

Additionally, factors such as a history of child endangerment, abuse, or maltreatment, and substance abuse would classify a parent as unfit to properly care for the child.

Can my child custody settlement be modified?

The Pennsylvania courts will agree to a modification to the original custody agreement if there is a valid reason for the change and if it is in the best interest of the child, such as the following:

  • One parent’s loss of employment.
  • One parent’s relocation in residence.
  • Any changes to one parent’s or the child’s schedule.
  • One parent’s remarriage.
  • One parent proves himself or herself to be an unfit parent.

If any of these circumstances are applicable to you, reach out to one of the York County, PA family law attorneys to help you fight for a modification.


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. 

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