Assisting clients with divorce, child custody and joint custody in Philadelphia
When parents divorce or domestic partners end their relationship, an essential question remains: what will happen to the children? The answer often depends on the nature of the remaining relationship between the parents. In the best circumstances, the parents place the needs of each child at the forefront, and there is a mutual decision as to child custody. All too often, though, the parents cannot agree, and the issue will be turned over to a custody hearing. A judge can award either sole or joint custody depending on what appears to be the best interests for the child.
In a sole custody situation, one parent is assigned the role to guard the child’s physical and legal rights. The non-custodial parent maintains the parent-child relationship through defined visitation rights. Over the decades, courts have taken note of changes in traditional parenting roles. It is now widely recognized that the active involvement of both parents is usually the best way for a child to flourish. Today, courts sometimes award physical custody to one parent while both parents share legal custody, along with a generous visitation schedule.
Pennsylvania courts take the issue of child custody seriously. The judge will certainly listen to the custodial preferences of the child, especially older children. The court will also take into account alcohol or drug dependency, child abuse charges, or neglect charges—and will readily award sole custody if either parent is deemed unfit. Because sole custody is often a trigger for a further deterioration of the relationship between parents and child, it should not be sought unless one parent truly is a danger to the child’s wellbeing.
Joint Custody in Pennsylvania
Joint or shared custody means that both parents share responsibility for decision-making and physical control of their children.
If parents agree to joint custody, the court will generally honor that agreement; the judge can also order joint custody on her own authority. While there are advantages to shared custody, at the same time, a joint custody arrangement means that both parents will have to devote considerable effort to maintaining a friendly and cooperative relationship when dealing with their children. If parents cannot agree on a fair division of housing arrangements and time schedules, the courts will move forward to impose an arrangement.
Sacks, Weston, Petrelli, Diamond & Millstein LLC. can help you through this difficult time. We are committed to helping individuals through their divorce, ensuring they have a fair and equitable resolution, while looking out for the best interests of the children.
If you are struggling with a divorce, child support, joint custody or child visitation issue, let us know. Call us today at (215) 523-6900 or toll-free at (800) 578-5300 to arrange a consultation about your case with an experienced Philadelphia family law attorney. We will work with you to see that your child’s best interests are respected.