Creating Your Own Custody Arrangement
In Pennsylvania, divorcing parents can create a parenting plan rather than leave custody up to the courts to decide. The benefit of creating your own parenting plan is that you have more control over the custody schedule of how often you get to spend time with your child, how holidays will be handled and so forth.
You still need to have the plan approved by the court so a judge can make sure the plan is right for the child. An attorney can help you through the process of drafting a solid plan that is likely to be approved and be healthy for your child.
When A Parenting Plan Does Not Work Out
Even if a spouse is difficult, it’s still entirely possible to negotiate a parenting plan. We have helped divorcing couples through this many times. In some cases, though, an agreement is simply not going to work out. When this happens, the court will decide the custody arrangement.
State law sets forth a number of factors for the court to evaluate when determining child custody, each weighted according to the court’s discretion. The best interest of the child is always the number one goal.
In general, these factors examine whether each parent could provide a nurturing, secure and stable home environment; how a custody arrangement might impact a child’s existing relationships with siblings and parents; whether a parent would allow the child to keep contact with the other parent.
A judge will consider any evidence that points to this standard. There are no hard-and-fast rules for who will get custody, but an attorney can help you know what to expect.
Working Collaboratively For Your And Your Child’s Future
Litigation is never our starting point. When children are involved, we remind divorcing parents of the benefit of looking to the future. Courts in Pennsylvania generally presume that a child will benefit from continuing contact with both parents and that both should share decision-making responsibility for their children. Thus, in practical terms, parents will need to cooperate with each other even after the divorce.
When emotions run high, we provide clear, compassionate advice to remind parents that their child’s best interest is worth putting aside grudges. However, if the other parent insists on a fight, we have the experience to protect our clients in court.
Contact An Experienced Child Custody Attorney
Our practical yet compassionate approach to child custody has guided many divorcing parents though emotional landmines. Collaborating on a proposed parenting plan not only saves time and money, but also it paves the way for smoother interactions with your former spouse after the divorce.