Child Custody BasicsMarch 27, 2019
If divorcing parents cannot agree on child custody arrangements, Pennsylvania courts will step in to decide which parent gets full custody, if the parents can share custody, and if necessary develop a visitation schedule.
This decision will be based on examining several factors to determine what is in the best interest of the child, including:
- Records of present and past abuse
- Drug or alcohol addictions of all household members
- A child’s relationships with siblings and other members of the household
- Level of conflict between parents
- Access to extended family and education
- Parental ability to provide consistent nurturing and care
- The child’s preference
For those who find themselves in a custody battle, it is important to enlist the aid of a Delaware County child custody lawyer who can help gather the evidence the courts will need when analyzing the above factors.
Child Custody Misconceptions
There are several commonly held misconceptions regarding child custody. Understanding the law and understanding parental rights is of the utmost importance when negotiating a successful custody arrangement.
Some commonly held misconceptions are:
- Mom always gets custody
- A formal court order is always necessary
Many divorcing couples believe that even if they agree on child custody arrangements, they will still need to obtain a formal court order. However, this is normally not necessary, unless one parent feels the other may violate the verbal agreement.
If parents do wind up in court over child custody issues, Pennsylvania law prohibits courts from making custody decisions based on the gender of the parent.
- Child support and visitation are intrinsically connected
Another commonly held belief is that child support payments and visitation rights are linked. In some cases, the custodial parent withholds visitation if the non-custodial parent fails to pay child support. Similarly, if visitation privileges are denied, the other parent may feel entitled to stop paying child support.
However, under Pennsylvania law, support and visitation are two separate issues, and one parent cannot take it upon themselves to “punish” the other for non-compliance of any court order.
What if My Ex Will Not Let Me See My Kids?
Sadly, it is not uncommon for one parent to withhold the children from the other. This is often done as a means of payback for things that had occurred during the marriage or after the divorce.
When a spouse intentionally withholds court ordered visitation rights from their ex, this may result in additional court costs, contempt of court charges, and fines. Parents who habitually defy court orders may face jail time and ultimately lose custody of their children.
For those that feel their ex-partner is interfering with their visitation rights, use the following checklist to determine if it may be time to contact a Delaware County child custody lawyer:
- Is this a one-time issue or is there a history of visitation violations?
- Calmly talk to your ex-spouse about your visitation rights.
- Examine the custody order to see if anything can be changed to rectify the issue.
Delaware County Child Custody Lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello Assist Parents with Child Custody Arrangements
If you are considering divorce or need assistance with child custody arrangements, a dedicated Delaware County child custody lawyer at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello is ready to help. Our compassionate lawyers are experienced in all facets of family law including, divorce, child support, and division of assets. For a free consultation, call us today at 610-892-4940 or complete an online form.
We are centrally located in Media, Pennsylvania, and we proudly serve clients throughout the state, including those in Philadelphia, Delaware County, Media, and West Chester, Pennsylvania.