An adult wearing glasses reads a book to a baby who is sitting on their lap. Both are dressed in teal tops. The baby appears curious and is touching the pages of the book. They are sitting on a light-colored sofa in a bright room.

Parents are faced with increasing pressure from society and the courts to work together to solve child custody issues at an emotional time in both of their lives. The resolution of child custody arrangements may seem daunting, however, with an experienced Pennsylvania family law attorney at Ilkhanoff & Silverstein, your child custody schedule can be brought up in the least stressful way possible, with your child’s best interest always in mind.

What are the different types of child custody in Pennsylvania?

The most common form of child custody today is known as “joint custody.” If joint custody is awarded, both parents will equally share parenting responsibilities and will be recognized as custodial parents. This includes both legal and physical custody, however, these can be independent of one another.

When a parent has physical custody, he or she provides the child with daily care. A single parent can be awarded both legal and physical custody.

Types of child custody in Pennsylvania include:

  • Joint legal custody: both parents share the responsibility of making decisions for the child (i.e. religion, education.) However, the child may likely live primarily with one parent.
  • Shared physical custody: here, the child will split their time residing with both parents. At a minimum, the other parent must have 35% of the child’s time.
  • Combination: This solution can be decided upon by the parents, which includes a unique combination of joint legal custody and shared physical custody.

Can child custody be modified?

If there is a change in circumstances that require a modification of the initial custody agreement, it is likely that custody situations will be changed. However, any changes must be reviewed and approved by the court and must present a valid reason with intent for the best interests of the child.

Custody circumstances can be changed as a result of:

  • Loss of employment
  • Relocation
  • Changes in Work Schedule
  • Re-marriage

What are some recent changes in Pennsylvania child custody law?

In 2011, legislation was passed into law in hopes to adopt a more modern interpretation of child custody, including decisions to be considered as gender-neutral.

  • Other changes that were made include:
  • Judges are now required to explain their decision;
  • There is now a rebuttable presumption that parents be given custody of their children;
  • Notification of relocation is now required; and
  • The criminal history of all household members of custody petitioners will be considered


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.