Child Custody Lawyers
Experienced Child Custody Attorneys Fight for Children’s and Clients’ Rights
Every issue that can arise in a divorce is capable of producing acrimony and emotional strife between a divorcing couple and require the intervention of the court to resolve the issue. However, in our experience, no issue creates a highly contentious situation as easily as child custody matters. Unfortunately, when parents decide to divorce it can damage or destroy their children’s sense of safety and security. Understandably, your children’s interests and well-being are likely at the forefront of your concerns as you go through the divorce process.
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At Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C., our compassionate, dedicated child custody lawyers know that a bitterly-fought and protracted custody battle can have a serious negative impact on your children. That is why we work hard to ensure that the child custody determination process proceeds as quickly and as smoothly as possible. Contrary to some people’s beliefs, child custody arrangements under Pennsylvania law are required to be gender-neutral, not preferring one parent over the other. Instead, courts today tend to prefer shared custody arrangements where the parents demonstrate their ability to work with one another and where such arrangements are in the best interests of the children.
Successful Child Custody Solutions in Cases
Courts in Pennsylvania are required to consider the “best interests of the child” as a guide star in any custody determination. As a result, making a child custody determination is rarely a straightforward matter. Instead, it is highly fact-specific, and courts look to a number of statutorily-listed factors to fashion a custody arrangement that is in the child’s best interest. These factors include:
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- Whether one parent is more likely to encourage and allow a relationship between the child and the other parent
- Whether one parent is more likely to provide more effective physical, emotional, developmental, and educational care and support
- The parental duties performed by each parent prior to divorce
- The need for stability in the child’s home, education, and community involvement
- The location and availability of extended family
- The location and relationship with siblings, if any
- The child’s own preference, if the child is mature enough to express a reasoned preference
- Any history of domestic abuse or criminal activity by either parent
- Any history of attempts by a parent to turn the child against the other parent
- Any history of drug or alcohol abuse by either parent and all occupants of their households
- The physical and mental condition of each parent and all occupants of their household
- Any special needs of the child, and whether one parent is better suited to meet those needs
- Each parent’s ability to make child care arrangements
- The parents’ ability to cooperate with one another
The most preferred custody arrangement is a shared custody arrangement, where you and your child’s other parent split parenting time on a roughly equal basis. Conversely, the most “severe” custody arrangement is the sole custody arrangement, where only one parent has custody and the other parent may only be entitled to visitation, at most.
There are three methods to obtain a child custody arrangement. They include:
- Out of court, where two parents are able to negotiate on their own (or with the assistance of their respective attorneys) to reach an agreement
- Via mediation (sometimes ordered by the court and under its supervision), where a neutral third party helps facilitate discussions between parents towards an agreement
- Via court order, where a judge will make the final determination in your child custody matter.
If you have questions about what facts and circumstances would be important to a custody determination in your case or want to learn more about what the child custody process involves, contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable child custody attorneys.
Knowledgeable Child Custody Lawyers Strive to Obtain Agreements in Child Custody Cases
Parent Awarded Right to Relocate to Another State
Grandparent Awarded Custody of Grandchild
Both the best interests of the child and the abilities of the parents are relevant to reaching a child custody arrangement that will best benefit the child. While the court always stands ready to make a child custody determination for your family, if necessary, our child custody attorneys always recommend a negotiated arrangement and will work to resolve your case without the court’s intervention, if that is your wish. We strive to help you develop a realistic and workable parenting plan with your child’s other parent, and we also take your child’s needs and interests into account throughout the process. Our experienced child custody lawyers can help you with other child custody issues, such as enforcement or modification of an existing child custody order, petitions for relocation with children, and grandparents’ custody rights.
Schedule a Consultation to Discuss Your Child Custody Matter with our Results-Focused Custody Lawyers
Every child custody case is different. That is why our attorneys work hard to understand each of our clients’ families along with our clients’ specific goals and concerns. If you have questions about the child custody process in Skippack, call us or email us to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our dedicated and experienced legal team.
Frequently Asked Questions About Child Custody
Before you decide to move out of the marital home prior to a divorce, you might want to consider obtaining a formal court order that establishes a temporary custody arrangement (you and your spouse can negotiate an arrangement or you can ask the court to make a determination). This order can be important to establishing your rights to shared custody in a final custody arrangement following your divorce. It can also reduce the chances of conflict if you do decide to move out of the marital home.
Under the law, if a parent with custody wishes to relocate with the children, either within the state or somewhere outside Pennsylvania, where the relocation requires changing existing custody arrangements, the moving parent must either obtain the other parent’s consent to the move or must obtain court approval. The moving parent must provide the other parent and the court at least 60 days’ notice prior to moving, providing information such as the new residence, the child’s proposed school, the reasons for the relocation, and a proposed new custody arrangement. You have 30 days to object to the request, at which point the court will make a determination whether to approve the relocation.