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Pennsylvania Child Custody Lawyers

Child custody is often among the most hotly contested divorce-related issues. Typically, both parents desire a significant role in their child’s life, but if they cannot reach a custody schedule on their own, a judge will likely have to do so for them. If you are seeking custody of your child in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, please do not hesitate to contact the highly experienced Pennsylvania child custody lawyers from Berman Voss, who can help ensure your child’s best interests are protected.

Child Custody Lawyers | Here for Families in Pennsylvania

If you are currently in a child custody dispute, you should strongly consider hiring competent Pennsylvania family lawyers at Berman Voss. The firm understands the delicate nature of these heartbreaking but often necessary court proceedings and can help you effectively navigate the process in pursuit of a favorable outcome. Berman Voss takes each case seriously and pledges to dedicate its resources to your case.

Types of Child Custody

The two types of child custody are physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to which parent the child will live with. Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make certain life decisions on behalf of their child, including, but not limited to, the religion they practice, where they go to school and the medical care they may receive. Parents can present the court with a custody plan of their own, or a judge can decide on child custody on their behalf. A judge can implement 50/50 physical and legal custody, sole custody to one parent, or any variation in between.

Factors Considered When Determining Custody in Pennsylvania

Courts consider a variety of factors when it comes to determining a child custody arrangement in Pennsylvania, but the most important factor is the best interests of the child. To help ensure a custody arrangement best protects a child’s interests, courts will consider the following:

  • The bond the child shares with both parents;
  • The proximity of both parents to one another;
  • The child’s needs;
  • Whether a custody arrangement would impact a child positively or negatively in terms of their social life, education, or financial standing;
  • Whether either parent has a history of substance abuse or domestic violence;
  • The ability of both parents to provide the child with a stable environment;
  • If the child is old or mature enough, whether they have a preference and
  • Any other factor the court deems relevant

You should also note that the gender of the parent is irrelevant; many people believe mothers are more likely to get custody, but Pennsylvania observes a gender-neutral provision with regard to child custody.

Child Visitation

In cases where one parent has primary physical and/or legal custody, courts will typically opt to grant the other parent visitation rights so he or she can continue to play a role in their child’s life. Visitation may be supervised or unsupervised, depending on the reason why the non-custodial parent was denied custody. In some cases, courts will even establish certain conditions that the non-custodial parent must meet before each visit, such as mandatory drug tests.

Modifying Child Custody

Sometimes, after a child custody arrangement is reached, life can change significantly. In some cases, such a drastic change will make it impossible to follow an initial custody agreement. If you can prove that there has been a significant, unforeseen, and continuing change in circumstances, you may qualify for a post-judgment modification, which is when the court modifies the initial custody order to reflect the current situation better. Some scenarios that may warrant a child custody modification in Pennsylvania are as follows:

  • One parent is looking to move out of state with their child;
  • The child’s needs or schedule has significantly changed;
  • One parent has seen a significant change in their work hours;
  • One parent has exposed the child to an act of domestic violence;
  • One parent has developed a substance abuse issue, and
  • One parent has endangered the child in some way or may endanger the child in the future

These are just some scenarios that may warrant a modification to child custody, and ultimately, if you believe you or your child has undergone a significant change that requires a modification, Berman Voss is here to guide you.

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