West Chester, PA 19380
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Josh represented me for my divorce, and I could not have been more pleased with the outcome and the guidance provided. His calm approach and confidence helped me make it through a really hard time.
Mr. Janis handled my custody case with professionalism and sincerity. I thank him and his office for the help they provided me.
Josh was terrific. Very helpful and made us more comfortable that the issue could be dealt with effectively.
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Custody of a child or children is a stressful and divisive issue when it comes to family law. While parents or guardians generally have rights to their child, a Pennsylvania court's first priority is always the wellbeing of the child or children. Striking a legal compromise between the child's best interests and the parents' or guardians' rights is tricky and complicated.
In the past, courts have been reluctant to grant shared physical custody out of concern to providing a constant, regular home in the best interest of minor children. Shared legal custody is also a complicated issue, involving decisions like medication and power of attorney. Previously, sole custody with visitation has been used as an often-inadequate remedy.
However, it is now possible to provide a stable environment with equally or partially-shared custody with regard to how modern families function – with multiple persons working outside the home. An experienced West Chester child custody lawyer can help you sort through these issues to come to a balanced solution for your family.
If you are exploring your child custody options and are seeking shared custody, contact the compassionate and knowledgeable family law attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices. We understand the delicate balance involved in child custody proceedings and will work with you to pursue the most favorable option for you and your family. We are proud to serve the Greater Philadelphia area, including Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster County, and Montgomery County. For your free consultation on what our West Chester family lawyers can do for your shared custody case, call (877) 529-2422 today.
Legal Custody and Physical Custody in Pennsylvania
Shared or joint custody can mean one of three things for a parent or guardian in Pennsylvania: shared physical custody, shared legal custody, or shared physical and legal custody. These types of custody are defined by 23 Pa. C.S. § 5302. Physical custody is simply the actual physical possession and control of the child. Legal custody is the legal right to make major decisions that affect the best interest of the child, such as medical, religious, and educational decisions.
In emergencies, the parent or guardian with physical custody in a shared custody situation has control over any emergency medical decisions, provided that the other custodian is notified as soon as possible. Generally, in a shared custody situation, both parents have legal custody. This includes shared custody agreements where physical custody is not shared.
Definition of and Factors Determining Shared Custody
According to 23 Pa. C.S. § 5302, shared custody is an order awarding shared legal custody, shared physical custody, or both in such a way that the child has frequent, continuing contact and physical access to both parents. Shared custody is different from a parent or guardian's right to visitation, which is merely the right to visit the child in the other parent or guardian's custody and not take physical custody of the child. In true shared custody agreements, parents have equal joint legal and physical custody of the child. Modern implications, however, may allow for a different interpretation of shared custody depending on the case.
Shared custody is allowed by statute in 23 Pa. C.S. § 5301 when it is in the best interest of the child to permit reasonable and continuing contact with both parents and shared child rearing responsibilities after a separation or dissolution of a marriage.
Factors that the court can and may use to determine if shared custody in Pennsylvania is in the best interest of the child include the following:
It is important when pursuing shared custody to make clear to the court your case for it, as well as lay down clear-cut boundaries. This can be a complicated process, especially when Pennsylvania child support is brought into the picture. An experienced family law attorney serving Greater Philadelphia can help you lay out a detailed case for the court when pursuing joint custody as well as deal with any associated complications.
Ciccarelli Law Offices | Joint Custody Lawyer in Chester County
If you are in Greater Philadelphia or the surrounding areas of Southeastern Pennsylvania, such as West Chester, Plymouth Meeting, Kennett Square, Malvern, Springfield, King of Prussia, or Randor, and are seeking shared custody of your child, contact Ciccarelli Law Offices. Our family custody law attorneys are passionate about helping you reached the balanced agreement that's right for your family. For your free initial consultation with the family law team at Ciccarelli Law Offices, call (877) 529-2422 today.