Child Custody Attorneys in Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Divorces and the breakup of marriages are difficult enough on their own. Yet, most of the time, the entire family unit is broken up. This is especially difficult for children under the age of 18. If you are going through a separation or divorce in Bucks County, you will likely be involved in child custody disputes. If that is the case, one of the smartest things you can do is hire an experienced child custody lawyer.
The experienced child custody lawyers at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford, P.C. can help you through this difficult situation. The Pennsylvania courts are charged with determining what is in the best interests of the child or children involved. Regardless of your family law process choice (mediation, collaborative law, or litigation), we will take the steps necessary to advocate for you to ensure your family is protected.
Types of Child Custody in Pennsylvania
There are generally two main types of custody—legal and physical custody.
Legal custody determines which parent will make decisions pertaining to the child’s education, religion and medical treatment. In the great majority of cases, legal custody is shared, often referred to as “joint legal custody”, while physical custody refers to where the children live and who provides day to day care for the children. Typically, the physical custody is also shared depending on the situation. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania categorizes physical custody in the following ways:
Primary Physical Custody
In a primary physical custody situation, the child or children reside at one location. The parent who they live with is referred to as the custodial parent. While the children may not have a scheduled, court-ordered time with the non-custodial parent, typically the non-custodial parent still has generous visitation rights, which can still include having the children stay at their house overnight.
Shared Physical Custody
Joint physical custody, also referred to as “joint custody”, allows both parents to have the child or children living with them for some portion of time. This may be part of the week, month, or year depending on how you and your spouse have agreed to share time.
Partial Physical Custody
Partial physical custody gives the non-custodial parent the right to unsupervised visitation with the children. This might be a few hours each week, every other weekend, etc.
Supervised visitation is rare, as it is typically only used when one party is a known danger to the child. An example might be past physical or sexual abuse.
What to Expect If You Go to Court
If an agreement cannot be reached between the parents, the next step is the litigation process. Child custody in Pennsylvania is determined by the best interest of the child. A few of the factors that are typically considered by the courts when determining the best interest of the child when fashioning a custodial arrangement are as follows:
- The parent who is more willing to be reasonable and accommodating towards the non-custodial parent is more likely to be awarded primary custody.
- If one parent has already been providing the majority of the care for the child or children, the Court is typically not going to relocate the child and make a new arrangement.
- The Court will likely rule in favor of keeping siblings together.
- A history of criminal activity or a track record of problems with drug or alcohol abuse.
- The weight given to the preference of the child is typically determined by the age and maturity as well as the reasoning they give for their decision.
Some of these factors can be unpredictable. It’s recommended to contact a Pennsylvania child custody lawyer if you are concerned about your custody situation.
Experienced Pennsylvania Child Custody Lawyers Are Your Best Option
While a divorce is never easy on a family, there are steps you can take to minimize lasting, negative impact. We fight tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients because we know that the decisions made today will significantly affect the whole family for years to come.
With Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford, P.C. you will experience the difference of working with knowledgeable and compassionate child custody lawyers who are dedicated to helping families move forward with their lives. Call us today at (215) 822-7575 or fill out our contact form to get started with a free consultation.