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Child Custody: Frequently Asked Questions

Your children mean the world to you. When you are getting a divorce, one of your biggest concerns is reaching a custody arrangement that suits their best interests. You probably have many questions and concerns about this process. Let me answer some of the most frequently asked questions that I hear from my clients regarding child support.

What Are The Different Types Of Child Custody?

There are two categories of child custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to a parent’s ability to make important decisions about his or her child’s life, including medical care, religion and education. Physical custody refers to the parent with whom the child lives. Often, one parent has primary physical custody, which means that the child lives with that parent most of the time.

What Are Sole And Joint Custody?

Joint custody refers to parents sharing custody of their children. Parents can have joint physical or joint legal custody. In these instances, the child would take turns living with each parent, and both parents would make legal decisions about the child’s upbringing. Sole custody means that only one parent has custody of the child. For example, one parent may have sole legal or physical custody of the child.

What Does The Court Consider When Issuing A Custody Order?

The court will issue a decree based on what it believes are the child’s best interests. When determining the child’s best interests, the court will consider, among other things:

  • Whether both parents can provide loving, stable relationships with the child
  • The proximity of both parties’ homes
  • The stability of a child’s education and community life
  • Whether one parent is dependent on drugs or alcohol
  • The presence of violence and abuse

How Much Time Will I Get With My Children?

The amount of time you have with your children will depend on your circumstances. There is no way to predict with certainty how much time your custody and visitation arrangement will give you. However, an attorney can give you a reasonable idea of what to expect from the court.

Can I Change My Custody Arrangement?

If you experience a significant life change after the court issues your arrangement, then you may be able to modify it. Typically, Pennsylvania courts will grant post-judgment modifications when:

  • One parent repeatedly violates the custody or visitation order.
  • The child’s needs have changed.
  • A parent moves out of state.
  • There are credible accusations of violence or abuse.
  • A parent has substance abuse issues.
  • Both parents agree to the modification.

Work With A Lawyer. Get Answers To Your Questions.

When you have questions about custody, I am here to answer them for you. I serve clients in Montgomery County, Bucks County and the Philadelphia area. Contact me by calling 267-728-4535 or 800-851-2534 or going online.