The Basics Of Custody And Visitation

In any divorce involving children, there are two types of custody that need to be addressed: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody deals with who will be allowed to make decisions about a child's health, education and welfare. Typically, shared legal custody is ordered, with both parents having a say in decisions concerning the child. Physical custody addresses where the child will live. Sometimes primary physical custody will be with one parent, with the other parent having shorter periods of time with the child or "partial custody" (in Pennsylvania visitation is called "partial custody"). Other families share physical custody fairly equally.

As advocates for our clients, we firmly believe that scheduling and agreements related to the children are ideally addressed between the parents. Only a parent who intimately knows his or her child can determine what is in that child's best interest. We will assist you in reaching agreement on these issues, including recommending and working with you on using the services of mediators, child specialists or Parenting Coordinators.

If a Petition for Custody is filed, we will guide you through the stages of the custody process and the use of resources which may provide a resolution without a custody hearing. These include the use of mediators, settlement conferences, appointment of a Guardian ad Litem for the child or involvement of custody evaluators.

When agreement cannot be reached, we will aggressively prepare and present your case to provide the court with the information needed to support your determination of a parenting plan which is in your child's best interests.

Child Custody Modifications

We also assist parents with requests for a child custody modification. Custody modifications are often needed when a parent wishes to relocate or when there are changes in a parent's work schedule or changes in the child's needs, and and a change is necessary in parenting time. Parents can agree to any written modifications either on their own or with the assistance of a neutral mediator. As your attorneys, we will draft a modified order for the court to sign without a hearing. If the parents cannot agree, the court will hold a hearing to decide what change might occur. Our custody lawyers are prepared to aggressively obtain and present the evidence needed to present your position regarding modification.

Contact An Experienced Lawyer Today

For more information regarding Pennsylvania child custody law, or to discuss your child custody and visitation issues with an experienced family law attorney, please call our State College office at 814-308-0894 or complete our online contact form.