Commonly overlooked issues in a custody dispute

Parents come to the divorce mediation table with a host of concerns. However, you may overlook some important considerations that impact your ability to coparent effectively. 

Ask yourself these questions as you prepare to negotiate a fair child custody arrangement in Pennsylvania. 

When will child support end?

Generally, the state decides the duration of court-ordered child support. When negotiating custody, consider whether you want to provide extended support for young adults attending college. In Pennsylvania, child support ends when a child reaches 18 and graduates from high school. However, you can agree that you will both provide financial support until your child turns 21 or graduates college, or permanently if he or she has a mental or physical disability. 

Where does the child want to live?

Pennsylvania family court judges consider the child’s wishes about where to live when he or she turns 14. However, parents can take their child’s desires about where to live into account even at a younger age. 

What does reasonable visitation entail?

Sometimes, parents simply agree that one will have primary physical custody and the other will have reasonable visitation. Without a schedule, however, the children may lose out on time with the noncustodial parent. In this situation, you should spell out the days and times each parent will spend with the child, including allowances for weekends and holidays. 

What about phone and online contact?

You should think about how often each parent will contact the child during the other parent’s visitation time. Decide on an arrangement that preserves each parent’s right to share uninterrupted time with the child and maintain a connection in his or her absence. 

Talking out these and other questions with your child’s other parent can facilitate the development of an effective parenting plan.