Child custody laws in Pennsylvania

While marriage can be a wonderful and fulfilling life event for many, they don’t always work out. Divorce often requires parents to make custody arrangements for their children. Pennsylvania custody regulations ensure that the child’s well-being is the main factor used to determine custody.

Pennsylvania’s child custody laws

Family law statutes pertaining to child custody in Pennsylvania address how custody is determined as well as which parent will pay child support and visitation schedules. Many custody rules are in accordance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.

When the courts award child custody, they will consider the child’s best interests to make a ruling. If the parents do not submit an acceptable parenting agreement to the court, the court will issue its own order with clearly defined custody regulations.

Factors that the courts consider

In order for a Pennsylvania judge to issue a suitable custody ruling, the courts will consider how close each parent is to the child and where each parent lives. The judge also assesses both parents’ mental and physical health and may ask the child where they want to live if they are old enough to express their preferences. If a parent has a chronic illness or has been diagnosed with a mental illness, the judge will consider this before making a ruling. The courts will not, however, consider the gender of the parents when making a custody decision. Each parent will have an equal chance to receive physical or legal custody of the child.

The custody order provides details that explain whether the judge has ruled for granted joint custody, physical custody or legal custody. The non-custodial parent’s visitation schedule will also be outlined in the custody order.