Child Custody Laws in PA

There are many different types of parenting plans and child custody agreements that families can come to, as long as their plan is what is in the best interest of the child. With that in mind, below we have gone over the various types of Pennsylvania child custody laws so you can better prepare to seek the custody agreement that will work best for you and your family.

Different Types of Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to where the children will be residing. There are several types of physical custody arrangements,  including shared, partial, primary, and sole custody.

Sole custody is when one parent has no physical custody rights and is rarely awarded, while primary custody allows one parent to have custody most of the time and grants visitation and/or overnights with the noncustodial parent at the custodial parent’s discretion.

Partial physical custody is similar to primary custody except that visits with the noncustodial parent are more frequent and overnights are a right. Shared custody is the most common type of custody plan and refers to both parents having custody of their kids and sharing parenting time fifty-fifty.

Legal Custody

Legal custody can be sole or shared and refers to the decision-making aspects of parenting. If shared, both parents will have a say in how the children are raised, what holidays are celebrated, where the kids will go to school, healthcare decisions, and more. If a sole legal custody agreement is in place, one parent has no legal custody rights.

To file for any form of physical or legal custody, a natural parent of the child always has standing. A person who is in loco parentis to the child also has standing. This phrase means “in the place of a parent” and refers to a situation where another person has been caring for the child and performing parental duties, even though he or she is not a biological parent.

A grandparent may be able to file for any form of custody if several conditions are met. The relationship with the child had to begin with either the consent of a parent or a court order. The grandparent must also be willing to assume responsibility for the child. In addition to the first two conditions, one of the following conditions must also be met: 1) the child has been adjudicated dependant by the court; 2) the child is substantially at risk from abuse, neglect, drug or alcohol abuse or incapacity; or 3) the child has lived with the grandparent exclusively for a period of one year with the exception of short periods away, and has been removed from the home by one of the parents within six months of the filing date.

Speak with a PA Child Custody Lawyer

If you would like to learn more about how to go about seeking a child custody order in Pennsylvania, reach out to a highly trained PA child custody lawyer at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C. To schedule your no-obligation case review with a family lawyer, you can submit the quick contact form we have included at the bottom of this page or give our firm a call at 1-844-VARI-LAW (827-4529).