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Happy Family

Child Custody

A new custody statute is in effect in Pennsylvania. While custody is still determined by considering what is in the best interests of the child, the new statute delineates factors to be considered by the court in making that determination. Those factors include:

  • Which party is more likely to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and the other party

  • Present and past abuse committed by a party or a member of the party's household, whether there is a continued risk of harm to the child or an abused party, and which party can better provide adequate physical safeguards and supervision of the child

  • The parental duties performed by each party for the child

  • The need for stability and continuity in the child's education, family, and community life

  • The availability of extended family

  • The child's sibling relationships

  • The well-reasoned preference of the child based on the child's maturity and judgment

  • The attempts of a parent to turn the child against the other parent, except in cases of domestic violence where safety measures are necessary to protect the child from harm

  • Which party is more likely to maintain a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship with the child adequate for the child's emotional needs

  • Which party is more likely to attend to the daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational and special needs of the child

  • The proximity of the residences of the parties

  • Each party's availability to care for the child

  • The level of conflict between the parties and the willingness and ability of the parties to cooperate with each other. A party's effort to protect a child from abuse by another party is not evidence of unwillingness or inability to cooperate with that party.

  • A history of drug or alcohol abuse of a party or member of a party's household

  • The mental and physical condition of a party or member of a party's household

  • Any other relevant factor

Different Types of Custody

Partial custody in Pennsylvania is defined as the right to take possession of a child away from the custodial parent for a certain period of time.

Physical custody is defined as the actual physical possession and control of a child.

Shared custody is defined as an order awarding shared legal or shared physical custody or both of a child in such a way as to assure the child of frequent and continuing contact with and physical access to both parents.

We Can Help

If you would like to discuss your custody matter with an attorney, you can contact SDS Family Law Group. Our office in Forty Fort can be reached at 570-820-9800 or, if you prefer, you can schedule an appointment online.

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