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.