What Rules Does Pennsylvania Set for Child Custody Arrangements?
Parents do not always have to go to court to get a child custody arrangement if they are able to work out such an arrangement themselves. This agreement must include sound custody terms and decision-making guidelines. However, a court will establish its own custody order if the parents cannot agree on a parenting plan.
The resulting child custody order will include both physical and legal custody stipulations. Physical custody is the actual possession of the child, and legal custody concerns each parent’s right to make decisions about how to raise the child.
Physical custody may involve any of the following:
- Shared physical custody: Custody is shared between both parents.
- Primary physical custody: One parent has custody of the children for most of the time.
- Partial physical custody: One parent has custody of the children for less time. This is also referred to as visitation in other states.
- Supervised physical custody: Custody is given to one parent for less time, and only under supervision. Again, this is a form of visitation in other states.
- Sole physical custody: One parent has full-time custody of the children. The other parent does not have legal visitation rights.
The court will take into consideration a variety of factors when determining custody arrangements, including potential risk of harm to the child, the arrangement that would allow the child the most stability and the parent who is best able to meet the child’s needs. Ultimately, the decision comes down to what the court determines to be in the best interests of the children involved.
To learn more, review this full list of factors Pennsylvania courts consider when determining custody.