Child Custody Providing Legal Support for You and Your Family

Philadelphia Child Custody Attorney

Personal and Goal-Oriented Lawyers with 35+ Years of Family Law Experience

When you work with the Law Office of Smith & Horwitz, you will be working with an experienced legal team of child custody lawyers serving Philadelphia who will explore all reasonable options for you to finalize a court-approved custody order. Shared custody, joint custody, sole custody, and visitation or parenting time schedules are all possible resolutions to your custody question. From a first child custody arrangement draft to modification of an existing visitation order, our Philadelphia child custody lawyer can help.

Legal custody involves a parent’s rights to make medical, educational, religious, and legal decisions on the child’s behalf, such as where the child(ren) should attend school or whether the child(ren) should undergo a major medical procedure. Parents may share legal custody, or one parent may have the sole right to make decisions for the child.

To Schedule a Consultation With Philadelphia Child Custody Lawyers Elaine Smith or Adam M. Horwitz Regarding Your Concerns, Contact Our Law Firm at (215) 515-8464 or online here.

What Does a Child Custody Order Cover in Philadelphia?

The two main types of custody granted by the courts are physical and legal custody. A parent with primary physical custody (the “custodial parent”) lives with the child while the other parent may share physical custody (also called joint custody in Pennsylvania) with the custodial parent or may have a limited form of physical custody, like supervised physical custody.

A couple’s custody order should establish the details of parenting exchanges, holiday visitation, relocations, child support, make-up visitation, transportation between visits, physical and legal custody, and any other family law issues relevant to the child custody case. A crucial part of any child custody order is also support, which is usually decided at the same time as custody because parenting time and custody impact support awards. Be aware that if the court has already finalized the requirements in the custody order, parents are bound to the terms unless or until a judge modifies the agreement.

How is Child Custody Determined in Philadelphia?

A child’s best interests are the most important factor a court will consider in any custody proceeding. Who does the homework with the children? Who picks them up from school? How do children see each parent? A court will examine a child’s relationship with their parents to guide their custody decision.

To determine the custody arrangement that best serves a child’s needs, a judge will consider the following:

  • each parent’s role in the day-to-day care of the child;
  • the child’s need for stability in education, family, and community life;
  • the child’s relationship with extended family;
  • the child’s sibling relationships;
  • the child’s preference (if they are of mature age);
  • either parent’s history of domestic violence or abuse;
  • each parent’s willingness to foster a relationship between the child and other parent;
  • each parent’s ability to maintain a loving, stable, consistent, and nurturing relationship with the child;
  • the child’s special needs, if any;
  • the geographical proximity of the parents;
  • the level of conflict between the parents;
  • each parent’s availability to care for the child or ability to make appropriate child-care agreements;
  • each parent’s physical and mental health.

This frank discussion of family dynamics works remarkably well in helping parents understand what is best for their children in terms of custody and visitation. Creativity and prioritizing the children’s ultimate welfare help bring about reasonable proposals. Our custody lawyers serving Philadelphia at the Law Office of Smith & Horwitz can help make parents’ visions for their children become a legal reality through effective negotiation and/or litigation.

How to get Temporary Custody in Pennsylvania?

There are certain aspects to consider when thinking about a temporary order. The most important aspect that the court will be interested in is the child’s best interest. Although this is a vague term, the court will protect the legal rights of the child disregarding the needs or preferences of the parents.

Keep in mind not to treat the hearing lightly. This is because the decisions the court adopts as “temporary” solutions can greatly influence the final outcome of the custody hearings. This means that the parent who gets custody of the child, even if only temporarily, will have bigger chances of getting permanent custody.

Modifications to Custody Orders

Although custody awards are permanent until modified or until a child reaches age 18, it is quite common for parents to seek modifications as the child grows and circumstances change. Pennsylvania law allows either parent to seek a modification to an order when doing so is in a child’s best interests. For example, a parent probably won’t be able to modify simply because the child’s other parent has remarried, but a child’s new medical diagnosis or one parent’s relocation might be grounds to adjust the existing order.

Our family law lawyers serving Philadelphia County at the Law Office of Smith & Horwitz understand that custody agreements frequently need to be modified or enforced. Therefore, we are prepared to assist clients in these areas. In addition, parents should know that new laws that affect specific relocation requests arise or update from time to time. Still, they can rest assured that our law firm stays current on all legislation changes to give our clients the best chance to obtain a favorable court resolution.

Seek Representation in All Your Custody Matters

Whether you seek legal support in drafting your custody order post-divorce or have questions about modifications or enforcement of an existing order, the Law Office of Smith & Horwitz can help you. We assist clients throughout Philadelphia County and surrounding counties in all matters of child custody.

Schedule a Consultation With Our Law Firm to Discuss Your Child Custody Dispute in More Detail. Call Our Law Firm at (215) 515-8464 or Contact Us Online Here.

Our Testimonials

We Pride Ourselves on Client Satisfaction
  • “Elaine handled my case since 2007 through 2009. She did excellent job. I just came back to consult her on different issue.”

    - Former Client
  • “I can’t say enough positive things about Adam Horwitz. I’ve been on the receiving end of child support and custody issues for ever 10 years now, so I’ve worked with numerous lawyers.”

    - Former Client
  • “Adam was polite, always responsive, and handled my matter quickly. He explained everything to me ensuring I understood what to expect in the process.”

    - Former Client
  • “I had Adam represent me as my attorney and his expertise in this field showed. He helped me go through a messy custody battle and the results of what was best for the well being of my child.”

    - Lanei Burke
  • “I have nothing but praise for Adam Horwitz, who represented my side in the custody litigation process.”

    - Alex B.
  • Superlawyers 2021
  • Avvo 10
  • PA Bar

Contact Us Today

Our family law firm represents clients in family litigation throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding counties, including Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery.  Contact the Law Office of Smith & Horwitz to learn more about how we can help you in your local county.

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