Child Custody in Pennsylvania
In all divorce cases, the best interests of the children must be the top priority of the divorcing couple. Children are innocent victims of divorce and are vulnerable to emotional trauma as they acclimate to their new family structure. An experienced child custody lawyer can ensure that the best interests of all marital children are served.
The Philadelphia child custody lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. keep the best interests of their clients and their children as top priorities. We work hard to help divorcing parents establish child custody and child support arrangements that provide a stable and healthy environment for their children. Parental decisions affect the physical, emotional, and mental health of their children now and in the future, and require careful consideration.
Sole Custody vs. Joint Custody
There are benefits to both sole and joint child custody. In some cases, one parent agrees that the other is best suited to control the physical and decision-making rights to their children. But in other cases, parents may agree it is best to share these responsibilities. When couples cannot agree, emotionally charged battles may ensue. When this is the case, it may be necessary for a judge to intervene.
In sole custody, one parent is known as the custodial parent. They assume the physical custody of the children and all decision-making responsibilities, while the non-custodial parent may be granted visitation rights.
The court will generally grant sole custody to a parent if the other parent is determined unfit to care for the children. Alcoholism, drug abuse, charges of child neglect or abuse, and an unstable lifestyle are some conditions that warrant sole custody being granted to one parent.
A judge will also take into consideration the relationship that each parent has with their children, as well as with other family members or caregivers. The physical and mental health of the parent and children are also considered. Parents who are unable to provide a stable or safe home environment, proper nutrition, and medical care may be deemed unfit to share custody.
Any parent with a history of domestic violence stands a small chance of being granted sole or joint custody. A judge will consider the safety of the children heavily when making custody decisions.
Likewise, parents who have been charged with child abuse or neglect during the marriage will also have a difficult time getting sole or shared custody of their children and may also be limited to supervised visits.
A joint custody arrangement is what many judges consider to be in the best interests of the children when both parents are fit to provide a stable home. Parents can decide on a joint custody arrangement on their own, or a court can order a joint custody arrangement. Parents in this type of custody agreement equally share the parenting responsibilities for their children.
Joint custody can be split in two ways; joint physical custody and joint legal custody. Children in joint physical custody arrangements will spend periods of time with both parents. Arrangements vary with the physical distance between parental homes, the work schedules of each parent, and the educational or medical needs of each child.
Joint physical custody can have children spending partial weeks or months with one parent, spending the school year with one parent and the summer vacations and holidays with the other parent, or may even include children living with each parent on alternate year schedules.
Other Issues to Consider in Child Custody
Once sole or joint custody arrangements are established, there are several other areas of child custody agreements to be considered. Grandparents play a pivotal role in a child’s life, and visitation rights for grandparents are just as important as those of other close family members. Grandparents also have the right to petition the court for custody of their grandchildren if they believe the children are being neglected or put in harm’s way by an unfit parent.
Father’s rights were often overlooked in the past, but modern fathers demand their voices to be heard and their requests for custody and visitation to be equally considered. Courts have established new guidelines and priorities to address this issue, as well and recognize the vital role fathers play in the lives of their children.
Today’s global economy often requires parents to relocate, sometimes very far away from the marital home location. In these cases, child custody and visitation rights can be hard to establish, and will require extreme compromise to facilitate, especially if countries separate parental homes. Having the Philadelphia child custody lawyers of Freedman & Lorry, P.C. for representation can help keep this process from becoming a detriment to the well-being of the children.
Philadelphia Child Custody Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Establish Child Custody Agreements in the Best Interests of Children
If you or someone you know is considering divorce where children are involved, call the Philadelphia child custody lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. at 888-999-1962, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and North Carolina.