Your children are your pride and joy. You celebrate every milestone, every achievement and every birthday with them. So, if you divorce you are likely very concerned about how much time you will spend with your child. In such situations, it is important to have a solid grasp on Pennsylvania child custody laws.
If you have legal custody of your child, you will have the ability to make major life decisions regarding your child. For example, you may be able to decide which doctors your child will see, what religion your child will participate in, and what school your child will attend.
Legal custody is often shared, meaning both you and your child’s other parent share these rights. However, sometimes a parent has sole legal custody. You alone have the right to legal custody of your child if this is the case.
If you have physical custody of your child, it means your child lives with you on a daily basis. Physical custody can be partial or primary. If you have primary physical custody, you have the child in your care a majority of the time. If you have partial physical custody, you have the child in your care less than a majority of the time.
Physical custody can also be shared or sole. If you have shared physical custody, you have the child in your care for a significant time period. If you have sole physical custody, you have the exclusive right to custody of your child. A situation involving partial physical custody and shared physical custody is sometimes referred to as “visitation.”
Being present in your child’s life
There are many factors a court will consider when awarding physical and legal custody of your child. It is important to recognize that you may have to share parenting time with your ex. However, in most circumstances it is important for children to have a meaningful relationship with both parents. A fair child custody order can achieve this goal.