The idea of child custody can be troubling but is important for divorcing parents to understand and to know what to expect. Determining child custody can be one of the most emotional and contentious aspects of the divorce process. Additional concerns, such as grandparent visitation, can also arise which is why it is important for divorcing parents to understand the full range of resources available to them through the family law process.
Child custody decisions in Pennsylvania and elsewhere are based on what is in the best interest of the child. The family law court considers relevant factors to determine what is in the best interests of the child. Factors the court may consider can include which parent is more likely to encourage and allow frequent and continuing contact between the child and the other parents; which parent is most likely to maintain a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship with the child; and which parent is most likely to care for the child's daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational and special needs.
Additionally, the family law court may consider the preference of the child; the child's relationship with siblings; and the need for the child to have a stable environment related to family life, education and community and overall continuity for the child. Joint custody arrangements are permitted in Pennsylvania so it is important to understand how the court will evaluate custody concerns and determine what is in the best interests of the child.
Child custody may create understandable concerns and anxiety as parents strive to reach a child custody agreement that is in the best interests of the child and that the family can live with. Because divorce and child custody are challenging issues, the family law process provides valuable resources to help that divorcing parents should be familiar with.
Source: Statelaws.findlaw.com, "Pennsylvania Child Custody Laws," Accessed Sept. 13, 2017