In theory, yes. Pennsylvania law states that when determining the custody rights between the two parents, there is no presumption to award custody to one parent. However, as a McNabb study reports, mothers win sole custody 91 percent of the time when custody is litigated. The primary factor in deciding the award of legal and physical custody is what is in the best interest of the child (BIC). To obtain help in strategizing how you can obtain custody of your child, consult a child custody lawyer in Harrisburg, PA.
Two different types of custody
Generally, there are two types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. A parent awarded legal custody has the right to make important life decisions regarding the child’s education, religion or medical treatment. Physical custody refers to the actual physical possession of the child.
Different custody arrangements awarded by the court
When formulating custody arrangements that are in the BIC, the courts have to determine the physical custody and legal custody of the children. When awarding physical custody the court evaluates the following options:
- Shared: Each parent has significant time with the child.
- Primary: One parent has custody most of the time.
- Partial: One parent has less than a majority of time with the child.
- Supervised: A parent’s time with the child is monitored by a court-appointed adult or agency.
- Sole: One parent has full custody.
When awarding legal custody, the court will give sole legal custody to one parent or shared legal custody, giving both parents joint decision-making authority.
Factors to decide when awarding custody
When awarding physical and legal custody, the court evaluates the following factors to determine what the BIC is:
- Which parent will promote healthy contact with the other parent
- Past and present abuse by a parent
- The existing parental roles of each parent
- The promotion of the child’s stability
- The availability of extended family
- The relationship between the child and brothers and sisters
- The child’s preference
- Whether a parent has encouraged the child to turn against the other parent
- Which parent is more likely to provide a positive emotionally stable environment
- How close the parent’s homes are to each other
- Each parent’s availability
- Whether the parents can cooperate with each other
- Any evidence of substance abuse by a parent
- The physical, mental and emotional condition of the parents
To enhance your success in convincing the court to award you custody of your children, consult a child custody lawyer in Cumberland.
Work with an experienced South Central Pennsylvania divorce attorney
Sensitive to the needs and challenges facing men who are going through divorce, John F. King, Esq. dedicates his resources to helping men obtain custody of their children. For more than 20 years, The Guy’s Attorney has been focusing on the unique legal battles of men. For more information, call 717.412.0244.