What Are The Child Custody Laws In Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania is considered to be a state of love. However, many marriages come to an end. Therefore, it is important to know about the different child custody laws prevailing in Pennsylvania.

Best Dentist in Montgomery CountyChild custody is a delicate matter and must be handled with utmost care. Generally, in family law cases, child custody is a part of the divorce process that is emotionally draining for both the parents as well as the child.

This blog will give you a sneak peek into the child custody laws that prevail in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania custody laws address different issues such as child custody, child support, visitation, and others about family law.

Most of the statutes regarding child custody are dictated by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. This law has been made to create uniformity in the jurisdiction and enforcement provisions applicable to both visitation and child custody cases.

How Does Child Custody Work In PA?

When awarding child custody, the courts in Pennsylvania make a decision based on what is best for the child. If the parents fail to present an appropriate custody agreement that is in the best interest of the child, then the court will make its own decision to settle the matter. 

Before entering a judgment, the court considers different factors that may seriously impact a child mentally and emotionally. Some considerations a judge will take into account when deciding child custody in PA include the following:

  • Location
  • Family relationships
  • The mental and physical condition of the parents
  • The willingness of a child to comply with a certain arrangement

The court generally ensures that both parents get equal rights to custody, visitation, and child support unless there is a compelling reason not to do so. Reasons a court may not grant joint custody include child abuse or neglect by one of the parents.

In Pennsylvania, grandparents also have the right to petition the court for visitation rights if they can provide evidence that they have a significant relationship with their grandchildren. The law also allows parents to sign an agreement giving their grandparents these rights without going to court.

What Is The Procedure Of Custody In Pennsylvania?

After the court considers all the relevant factors and makes a decision that reflects the best interests of the child, the court will then issue a written custody order. This document will include all the terms and conditions of the custody arrangement, including:

  • custody allocation
  • visitation rights received by the parents
  • the amount of child support to be paid by the non-custodial parent

If there are any other custody-related matters that need to be addressed, the court will also include these in the written order. The court must be able to explain the reasons for their decision, whether in a written judgment or open court. The custody order will become enforceable as soon as it is issued by the court.

As per 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5331, parents are bound to abide by the court orders unless modified by a judge. If either parent fails to comply with the terms of the order, they can be held in contempt of court. This may result in penalties such as fines or jail time.

The advantage of a custody order is that there will not be any risk of arguments between the parents. The court orders will be considered as final and must be followed by both the parents. This is why if you are facing a child custody case in Pennsylvania, it is important to speak with a Philadelphia Family Attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.

What is Child Visitation in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, the development of a child is considered essential and is fundamentally based on parental contact and support. In many cases, the non-custodial parent can receive the right of visitation. As per the law of Pennsylvania, the courts usually grant reasonable visitation to the non-custodial parent.

A non-custodial parent may be awarded visitation in the form of:

  • Partial Physical Custody
  • Shared Physical Custody
  • Supervised Physical Custody 

There are different requirements that a parent must meet to receive custodial rights for their children. For example, it can include a drug test that is performed before a parent visits their children if the parent has a history of drug-related issues.

The non-custodial parent will be permitted to visit their child if they meet all the criteria related to the safety of the child. In addition to this, they must also meet all safety measures and must not be involved in any child abuse.

A custody matter should be discussed with one of the child custody lawyers in PA, who can make sure that the rights of both parents are protected, as well as the best interests of the child. 

Can Any Modifications Be Made to Pennsylvania Child Custody Orders?

Child custody orders are permanent decisions entered by the court.  Once a custody order is in place, it can only be modified by a court order. This means that if either parent wants to make changes to the custody order, they will need to go back to court and ask the judge to modify the order. 

A change to a custody order may be warranted when circumstances have changed since the original custody order was entered. For example, if one of the parents gets a new job that requires them to travel frequently, they may ask the court to modify the custody order so that the child can stay with them more often. 

According to Pennsylvania law (23 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5331), either of the parents can seek a modification to the child custody order, as long as it is in the best interest of the child.

For a free case evaluation, you can Contact Lidia L. Alperovich. She is dedicated to protecting the rights of parents and children in custody and visitation disputes.