If you’ve filed for a divorce, then you know that it’s a complicated process. The legal procedures and paperwork required to finalize a divorce can be long and drawn out. The process has a way of bringing out the worst in even the most even-tempered couples. Divorce is difficult when the issues being litigated are financial and relationship-related, but if you have kids, custody issues can raise the emotional temperature relatively high. The problems in family court are emotional ones, so preparing for court requires a different type of preparation. Parents need to work with their legal representative to create a custody plan. In most states, it’s common for courts to favor a custodial situation that includes parental access for both parents. If your legal strategy includes a plan limiting the parental access of your co-parent, you will need to be prepared to provide a reason for the request in court.
Factors Impacting Child Custody Decisions in Pennsylvania
Custodial disagreements are not as common as one may think. Most parents agree on issues of physical custody. When there are disagreements surrounding custody issues, they can be focused on physical or legal custody issues. When there is a disagreement, the court will review the case and check several factors before deciding which parent should receive primary custody of the minor child or children in question.
The court will consider issues like:
- Are both parents physically and mentally capable of caring for their children?
- What are the work hours of each parent?
- Are both parents willing to care for their children?
- Is there a history of child abuse?
- What relationship does each parent have with the minor child or children?
- Where does each parent currently reside? Do they plan to remain there?
Children cannot choose which parent they want to live with until they are adults, but the court will take a statement from the children and take it into consideration when deciding the case.
Understanding Your Pennsylvania Child Custody Order
When the case has been decided, the judge will issue a custody order. The order can be singular or multi-part to include the different aspects of the case. The custody order will include details of legal and physical custody issues, and it will include any additional related details. If you feel your custody order is unfair or creates a burden, you can petition the court for a change. Changes to your custody or support order are called modifications. These changes can include issues ranging from custody status to support payments. Requesting a modification isn’t simple. The court wants to ensure people aren’t petitioning the court arbitrarily. To request a modification, the court requires a mitigating reason or change in circumstance.
Common circumstances that warrant a modification request:
- New Job
- Loss of Job
- Financial Windfall
- Serious Illness
- Mental Health Issues
- Dangerous Living Conditions
- Changes in Educational Standards
Understanding Child Support Awards
Child support is awarded to a custodial parent to help provide a minor child with a standard of care more aligned with a two-parent household. The money is intended to provide the minor child with sustenance and daily needs, including activities. Child support awards are calculated using many factors.
Common factors used to determine child support awards:
- Number of Minor Children
- Each Parent’s Total Income
- Childcare Expenses
- Any Additional Child Support Awards
- Medical Costs
- Educational Costs
Contact William Kirby Law Offices for Support
Issues of child custody, visitation, and child support can be difficult to navigate. If you and your estranged spouse are currently separated and preparing to fight over custody issues, don’t go into family court unprepared. Contact the family law attorneys at William Kirby Law Offices. We will fight for your family and your parental rights. Call today at (215) 515-9901 to schedule a consultation with one of our Pennsylvania child custody attorneys.