Child custody is an important part of any divorce case involving children from the marriage. In most situations, children deserve having both parents be involved, active participants in their lives. When deemed appropriate, a judge in Southeastern, PA will arrange both joint legal and physical custody. However, not every situation is cut and dried. At the Law Offices of Jack A. Rounick, LLC, we understand that there are many unique situations in which child custody must be determined differently.
A judge must consider custody affecting living arrangements and custody affecting decision-making. Physical custody determines who the children live with. Legal custody determines who is allowed to make important decisions, such as religion, education, and medical concerns. In rare cases, legal custody is determined in the favor of one parent. Sole legal custody may be given if there are concerns as to who can make the best decision for the children in their best interest. A parent who has not been physically present in their children’s lives for an extended period, or has a past of abuse drug use, may not be awarded joint legal custody.
The children’s best interest is the paramount consideration when a judge is determining physical custody. Physical custody is often determined by taking a number of aspects and factors, which may include:
- The party which is most likely to permit the other party to enjoy contact with the child
- Any past or present abuse
- The ability to maintain stability and continuity in the life of the child
- Availability of the extended family
- The relationship the child has with siblings
- Each parent’s duties performed on behalf of the child
- Preference of the child based on maturity and basis for decision
- Previous attempts to turn the child against the other parent
- Parent most likely to offer the child an environment of love, stability, and consistency based on their emotional needs
- Which parent regularly attends to the needs of the parent, including emotional, physical, educational, developmental, and special needs
- The residential location of the parents
- Parent’s availability from work and ability to arrange appropriate child care
- The level of conflict that exists between the parents and the ability to cooperate
- History of alcohol or drug abuse
- History of mental or physical conditions which can affect parenting abilities
There are many instances in which a judge may have to deviate from these standard considerations, and this is where a lawyer can help. If you are concerned about the wellbeing of your children and the decision a judge may make which is not in favor of you spending quality time with your children, contact Attorney Jack Rounick today. Schedule a consultation to find out if we can help ensure you get to be an involved party in your children’s lives.