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What Factors Impact Custody Decisions?

Courts make custody decisions — now called parenting time — based on what they feel is in the best interests of the children. While this is a subjective determination, Pennsylvania law lays out 16 factors for the courts to weigh:

  1. Whether one parent is more likely to encourage the child’s relationship with the other parent
  2. Any instances in which one parent has tried to turn the child against the other parent (unless necessary to protect the child’s safety)
  3. Any current or past abuse that has occurred and will potentially endanger the child
  4. Any history of drug or alcohol abuse within each parent’s household
  5. The mental and physical health of the parents and others in their households
  6. The parental duties currently being performed by each parent
  7. The status quo and the child’s need for stability and continuity
  8. The involvement of extended family
  9. Whether the child has siblings and the extent of those sibling relationships
  10. The child’s preferences, considered in light of the child’s age and maturity
  11. Whether one parent is more likely to have a stable, nurturing and loving relationship that meets the child’s emotional needs
  12. Whether one parent is more likely to attend to the child’s daily needs, including their physical and emotional health, and their educational development
  13. How close the parents live to one another
  14. Each parent’s ability to care for the child or arrange for child care
  15. The level of conflict and the parents’ ability to work together
  16. Other factors the judge finds relevant

Contact Law Offices of Maribeth Blessing, LLC

Because this analysis is subjective, it is extremely important to work with a skilled lawyer during any custody dispute. Attorney Maribeth Blessing has been representing parents throughout Montgomery, Bucks and Philadelphia Counties during custody disputes for over 20 years. She understands how courts evaluate custody factors and helps clients align their cases with these factors to ensure custody decisions truly benefit their children.

To learn more about our services, call us at 215-392-0849 or 866-603-8691. You can also contact us online. Our office is located in Rockledge.