What to Know When Seeking Custody

Broken Family

Custody laws in Penn custody Sylvania are divided along county lines, which means that there will be varied restrictions and regulations depending on where you reside or will be filing the custody action. As the process can be damaging to the emotional and mental well-being of your child, many counties require the parents to attend a seminar on how best to protect the child throughout the often drawn-out process.

The best first step is to attempt deciding your custody arrangement during a mediation session, but if this is not possible, you’ll then be able to move on to a hearing with a judge or court employee to decide upon your case. At any time, you will be able to resolve your custody ‘battle’ with the other parent outside of court, which can sometimes surprisingly happen even longer down the process. With the well-being of the child in mind, many parents will opt to settle out of court if only to bring the difficult legal proceedings to an end.

When filing for custody, there are a number of factors that the court will consider in making the custody decision. Among them include the parental duties of each parent, the ability of your respective extended families to play a role in the child-rearing process, relationships with siblings, and which parent is most likely to encourage contact between the child and the other parent. If there are cases of past or present abuse or the reasonable risk of harm, this will also be taken into serious account, as will the reasonable preference of the child based on their age-appropriate judgment abilities. The distance that the parents live from each other, the parent’s ability to make child-care arrangements, and the likelihood of each parent to provide the child with a loving and stable environment are also taken into account.

While many of these factors seem subjective, they all exist in conjunction with each other and come together in making a final decision on where the child will live regularly, as well as the stipulations on shared custody. The above list is also certainly not exhaustive and relevant factors are open for interpretation in court. The child’s safety is the primary concern of the court.

Custody is both physical and legal, which allows for parents to have actual time with the child, as well as the right to make important decisions that affect the child, including education and medical care. Shared legal custody is usually granted if the couple can collaborate at all while physical custody is much more nuanced in terms of visitation, partial custody, or primary physical custody. Even in instances of sole legal custody, the custodial parent does not have the right to displace the child’s relationship with the other parent, which includes making cross-country moves.

At Smith & Horwitz, we take great care to protect the rights of parents and children in custody cases and additionally provide services for cases of grandparent custody. For a full overview of our services and how they will work for your custody case, call us for a free phone consultation today at (215) 515-8464.

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