While frequently regarded as being a time of great joy and celebration, the holidays can also be stressful. This is often especially true for individuals who are in unhappy marriages when spending time at home with a spouse and extended family members can reinforce and intensify a husband's or wife's resolve to finally end a marriage.
Being a parent is undoubtedly one of the most important, challenging and rewarding roles that anyone can fulfill during their life. From changing diapers and performing round-the-clock feedings to helping with homework and drying tears after a playground fall, young children especially need and rely upon their parents for so many things. In cases where parents of a young child divorce, it's critical that they find a way to work together to continue to meet their child's needs.
The word divorce has many negative connotations and often conjures up images of belongings being thrown out of second-story windows and forlorn children sitting idly by as their parents fight. While these types of scenes may make for good television programming or tabloid fodder, for divorcing couples a conflict-ridden divorce only intensifies what is already likely a difficult process. To avoid this added expense and stress, many couples today are opting to mediate rather than litigate their divorces.
Like numerous other aspects of the American legal system, divorce is an adversarial process. When faced with the prospect of divorce, many people think of drawn out child custody battles, unending disputes over marital property and assets, and the heavy emotional burden that comes with ending a marriage.
Anytime a family splits, the issue of child custody can evoke a lot of emotion and confusion. The entire child custody process can become the most important aspect of any divorce. For Pennsylvania families, understanding how child custody works in the state and how the legal system may be beneficial can be helpful even under the most contentious circumstances.
In the past, it was generally expected that when Pennsylvania parents decided to pursue a divorce, children would be relegated to the custody of the mother. With the exception of certain situations, as in where the mother was deemed unfit, this was the cultural norm. According to a recent report, more fathers are fighting to change the tide of child custody arrangements that were commonplace in the past.
When a couple decides to separate, they typically have many decisions to make. The most difficult and often contentious part of a divorce may relate to child custody. If a Pennsylvania couple is unable to come to a child custody agreement on their own or through mediation, a family court judge may have to make a ruling. As part of this process, a parent's lifestyle -- possibly even including medical records -- may play a role in the outcome.