Know the basics about child custody

When a divorce case in Pennsylvania involves child custody issues, the two soon-to-be ex-spouses may feel the need to push forcefully for the outcome they believe is best for the child. And, why not? For the vast majority of parents anywhere, their kids are the most important part of their lives. A divorce case can become quite complicated when child custody issues are involved, but that doesn’t mean that a good result cannot be obtained.

If parents in Pennsylvania know the basics about child custody matters, they will likely be in a better position to understand how the issue may be resolved. For starters, it is important to know the difference between “legal custody” and “physical custody.” The parent with legal custody has the right to make important decisions about the child’s life, such as where the child will attend school, how the child’s healthcare will be handled and where the child will attend church, if any, among other decisions. The parent with physical custody is the parent who the child will live with, primarily.

However, many courts probably prefer that “joint custody” be ordered – which means that, for both legal and physical custody, the parents – even though they are divorced – share the responsibility for all aspects of the child’s life. In fact, if a divorcing couple can reach this type of arrangement on their own, most judges would be thrilled.

Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible for divorcing couples to negotiate a child custody arrangement that is in each party’s best interest. Sometimes, courtroom litigation is a must. If parents in Pennsylvania take the time to understand child custody from a legal standpoint, they will likely be in a better position.

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