Frequently Asked Questions About Child Custody
If you are thinking of divorce or have already started proceedings and children are involved, it is natural to worry about custody disputes. You are likely concerned about how much time you will spend with your children, and how it will impact your relationship with them. You probably also have many questions about how custody will be decided, and if the arrangement will require you to pay child support. All of these concerns are very common. Below, our Media child custody lawyer outlines some of the most frequently asked questions we hear, and the answers to them.
How Do the Courts Decide Child Custody?
In ideal situations, the two parents in a dispute can reach an agreement about the many terms in divorce, including child custody. Reaching an agreement without court intervention allows both parties to retain some control and reach a customized solution that works for them. Sadly, this is not always possible. When that is the case, a judge will make a decision based on the child’s best interests. The court will take many factors into consideration, including the financial means of both parents and their individual ability to raise a child.
Are Parents Awarded Sole Custody?
Parents may be tempted to fight for sole custody so they lose minimal time with their child. Some people do this just to spite their spouse. However, it is very difficult to obtain sole custody in Pennsylvania. The courts generally presume that it is in the best interests of the child to maintain a relationship with each parent. While one parent may be awarded more custody time than the other, sole custody is very rare. To obtain sole custody, one parent must usually show that the other is unfit to raise a child.
If Shared Custody is Awarded, Do I Have to Pay Child Support?
In shared custody situations, both parents spend an approximately equal amount of time with the children. Still, one parent may be ordered to pay child support. This often happens when one parent earns a wage or salary substantially higher than the other and one parent needs financial support to cover child-related expenses.
Will the Court Consider the Child’s Preference?
There are times when the court will listen to the child’s preference regarding who they want to live with post-divorce. One of the biggest factors the court will consider when deciding to hear a child’s opinion is their age and the reason for the preference. If a child is over the age of 16, the court will consider their preference more seriously. Additionally, the court must find that the reason is rational and that the child was not pressured to give a preference by one parent.
Our Child Custody Lawyer in Media Can Answer All of Your Questions
If you are going through a child custody dispute, you likely have a lot of questions. At Barbara Flum Stein & Associates, our Media child custody lawyer can answer them and give you the best chance of a favorable outcome. Call us now at 610-565-6100 or contact us online to request a consultation and to get the legal advice you need.