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Does Being Unemployed Affect Child Custody?

unemployed parent

Child custody cases can be emotionally taxing and complex. In Pennsylvania, as in many other states, the court's primary concern is always the best interests of the child.  

A variety of factors are considered when determining custody, including each parent's ability to provide care and support. However, what happens when unemployment enters the picture? In this blog post, we explore the effects of unemployment on child custody in Pennsylvania. 

Is Unemployment Factored into Child Custody Determinations?  

The paramount consideration in any custody case is the child's best interest. The court looks at several factors while making this determination: 

  • Each parent's capacity to provide love, affection, and emotional support. 

  • The ability of each parent to attend to the daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational, and special needs of the child. 

  • The proximity of the residences of the parents. 

  • The level of conflict between the parents and the willingness and ability of the parents to cooperate with one another. 

Unemployment can significantly affect these factors. Let's delve into how: 

Financial Stability 

In Pennsylvania, the law does not explicitly state that unemployment can be a determining factor in child custody. However, the court does consider each parent's financial stability, which can indirectly impact the unemployed parent. If unemployment results in financial hardship that affects the child's quality of life, it could be a disadvantage in a custody case. 

Availability for Childcare 

On the flip side, unemployment could mean a parent has more time to devote to childcare duties. This increased availability could potentially work in the unemployed parent's favor, especially if the other parent works long hours or has other commitments that limit their availability. 

Housing & Medical Care 

Unemployment could also impact a parent's ability to provide stable housing and adequate medical care – two factors that courts often consider when determining the best interests of the child. 

Practical Advice for Unemployed Parents 

If you're an unemployed parent concerned about your custody rights, here are a few tips: 

  • Seek legal counsel. It is essential to consult with a family law attorney who can guide you through the complexities of child custody laws in Pennsylvania. At William Kirby Law, Family Law Attorneys, our attorneys have decades of experience. Should you wonder whether your or your co-parent's employment status affects your case, we are more than happy to discuss potential outcomes and help you build a case that supports your desired case outcome.  

  • Keep meticulous documentation. Keep records of all interactions with your child and any efforts you've made to secure employment or improve your financial situation. 

  • Stay involved. Continue to be as involved as possible in your child's life. Attend school events, help with homework, and spend quality time with your child. Remember, the court's primary concern is the best interest of the child. Unemployment doesn't automatically disqualify you from obtaining custody. However, it's crucial to demonstrate your commitment to providing a loving, stable environment for your child, regardless of your employment status. 

Contact our team online or at (215) 515-9901 to discuss your case with our experienced family law attorneys