Media Child Custody Lawyer
When a couple choosing to end their marriage have children to consider, the issue of child custody is often the most important, most emotional, and most contentious aspect of the divorce. When the parents can’t agree, the judge decides how much time the children spend with each parent, or whether one parent should have sole custody over the children. At Barbara Flum Stein & Associates, our Media child custody lawyer excels in dealing with high-conflict, emotional and difficult child custody cases, including cases which most often require litigation to resolve. Read more below about important aspects of Pennsylvania child custody law, and contact Barbara Flum Stein in Media for assertive and effective representation in Delaware County divorce and child custody matters.
Facts about Pennsylvania Child Custody Law
When the court determines custody matters, the judge decides both physical and legal custody of the children. Physical custody refers to the actual physical possession and control of the children, i.e. taking care of them, giving them a place to live, feeding them, getting them to school and activities, etc. Legal custody, on the other hand, refers to the right and responsibility to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing in areas such as their education, medical care, religious instruction, and extracurricular activities.
There are many different ways custody can be decided by the judge, including:
Shared physical custody – Each parent has physical possession and control of the child at least 35% of the time. Also called Joint Custody.
Primary physical custody – Parent has custody the majority of the time.
Partial physical custody – Parent has custody for less than a majority of the time.
Sole physical custody – Parent has exclusive physical custody of the child.
Supervised physical custody – Parent has custodial time, but only with another adult present, which may be a representative from a child welfare agency, another person designated by the court, or even the other parent.
Shared legal custody – Both parents share in the decisions regarding the child’s upbringing.
Sole legal custody – One parent has the exclusive right to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing.
Pennsylvania Family Law Judges Base their Decisions on the Best Interests of the Child
In deciding custody matters, the guiding principle for the courts is the best interest of the child. There are a number of factors the judge is required to consider when making this determination. Your attorney’s job – our job – is to prepare and present the evidence in a compelling, persuasive fashion that convinces the judge of the following factors:
- Which parent is more likely to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and the other parent
- Which parent is more likely to maintain a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing environment for the child
- Which parent is more likely to attend to the child’s physical, emotional and special needs
Other factors important to the court’s decision include:
- The child’s own preference, considering the child’s age and maturity level
- The child’s relationship with siblings
- The availability of extended family for support
- The importance of maintaining stability and continuity in the child’s schooling and neighborhood community
- Any evidence of physical abuse, drug or alcohol abuse, or criminal activity of either parent
- Likelihood of a continued risk of harm posed by a parent
- The duties performed by each parent
- Attempts of one parent to alienate the child from the other parent
- The proximity of both parents’ residences
- The level of conflict between the parents and their ability to cooperate with one another on custody matters
Don’t Take Chances with Your Media Divorce or Child Custody Dispute
Barbara Flum Stein litigates the most difficult child custody cases, including those involving relocation, grandparents’ rights, or termination of parental rights. Make sure you are well-represented by an aggressive and effective Media child custody lawyer in any Pennsylvania divorce or child custody dispute. In Delaware County, call Barbara Flum Stein & Associates in Media at 610-565-6100.