Helping Parents Obtain Fair Custody Agreements
The love most parents have for their children makes child custody decisions some of the most difficult in divorce and separation. Even when the parents can agree on all other terms of divorce, child custody issues can bring significant conflict and considerable emotion.
At Turner & O’Connell, Attorneys at Law, we focus on helping clients resolve child custody disputes in a manner that is in the best interests of the children and achieves our clients’ goals.
Attorneys Who Know Custody And Visitation Law Changes
In January 2011, new child custody laws went into effect in Pennsylvania. The term “visitation” is no longer used under the new laws. Rather, the roles, rights and obligations of parents are defined in terms of physical custody and legal custody:
- Physical custody: Physical custody refers to the amount of time each parent spends with the child. Under shared physical custody arrangements, the child spends a significant amount of time with each parent. Physical custody arrangements may also be defined as primary physical custody (where the child spends significantly more time with one parent) or sole physical custody (where the child lives with only one parent).
- Legal custody: Legal custody refers to the decision-making authority/responsibility of each parent, particularly decisions involving medical care, education, religious upbringing and other important decisions. Parents in many cases share legal custody. However, in some situations, it may be in the best interests of the children for one parent to have sole legal custody.
All child custody decisions are to be made in the best interests of the children. When child custody decisions are not made by the parents in an agreement, the court will consider a number of factors to determine what custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child or children.
Child-parental relocation: The 2011 changes in Pennsylvania custody laws make it more difficult for a parent to relocate with a child after divorce. Courts hold that a meaningful relationship with both parents is usually in the child’s best interests. When a parent moves out of state, it restricts the other parent from exercising shared physical custody rights. Therefore, if a parent wishes to relocate, he or she must first obtain the other parent’s consent or court approval. The court will examine factors such as reasons for the move, benefits to the child, whether the move is designed to deprive the other parent from his or her time with the child and many other factors.
Experienced, Informative And Personalized Guidance
When you come to Turner & O’Connell for assistance with a family law issue such as divorce or child custody, you can count on working directly with your child custody lawyer throughout the process. You can discuss your goals and concerns with your lawyer and get any questions answered promptly and honestly.
We will provide the professional guidance you need, whether you are establishing custody or child support, need assistance pursuing or objecting to a custody modification, or you need experienced counsel in seeking enforcement of child custody or support orders.