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What should I know about child custody in Pennsylvania?

Deciding child custody can be tough for Pennsylvania parents. The court process may seem intimidating, especially if you are applying for sole custody. Having the right information is crucial in this case, and Live About explains some of the more important custody considerations to be aware of when getting divorced in this state.

Parents have the option between sole and joint custody. All determinations are made in the best interest of the child at the center of the dispute, so his or her needs will be a priority. In many cases, the court prefers to award joint custody to ensure children are able to establish a healthy relationship with both parents. Both parents must also agree to a joint custody arrangement for it to proceed. Once an agreement has been reached, parents will need to determine things like visitation schedule and plans for holidays and special occasions.

Many factors go into the process, and the court looks at each case individually to make the best decision. For instance, shared custody may be denied if there is a past history of abuse or neglect on behalf of one of the parents. Criminal convictions will also be considered, as will the child’s own wishes regarding custody. The situation may also be influenced by a parent’s willingness to work with his or her ex when it comes raising their child. A parent that prevents a child from having a healthy relationship with the other is usually looked at favorably by the court.

When it comes to moving out of state, the court must decide whether it is permissible for the child to be relocated as well. In some instances, the child may be ordered to remain, especially if it is believed that the relocation will be emotionally trying. If there are benefits, such as the child being placed in a better school district, this will also be taken into account. The reasons for the move, such as to secure gainful employment, will also be considered.