When you find yourself embroiled in a child custody case, you will hear the term “best interests of the child” come up frequently. This is because it is the duty of the court to help devise a custody arrangement that prioritizes your child’s interests above your own or those of your ex. In Pennsylvania, courts and judges use a similar set of factors when making custody-related determinations. The factors considered may vary to some degree from one custody case to the next, but expect the court to take into account the following areas before issuing decisions.
FACTORS CONSIDERED WHEN DECIDING CHILD CUSTODY
When deciding whether to grant you or your ex custody rights, a court should consider how much of a role each of you played in child-rearing to date. Courts also consider your ability to continue to provide stability in the life of your son or daughter moving forward. The willingness of each parent to encourage the child to maintain a relationship with the other parent will also count as an important factor in custody cases. If one of you has a history of badmouthing or limiting contact with the other parent, this will hurt your custody chances. If your child has siblings that live with you or his or her other parent, the court may also prioritize an arrangement that allows the child to live alongside brothers and sisters. In addition, if your child is old enough and mature enough to have personal opinions on where to live, your son or daughter’s preferences may also help influence custody decisions. Finally, how close you live to the other parent may also be a determining factor.
Contact the family law attorneys at OWM Law to discuss how the above factors, and many more, impact your custody and visitation rights.