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Child Custody FAQs

Posted by Ted Hoppe | Dec 03, 2023 | 0 Comments

Parents often contact me with questions about child custody and how the process works in Pennsylvania. We understand why there are so many questions, too, because there's a lot of misinformation about child custody. We are here to dispel the misinformation, clarify misunderstandings, and provide the right information so you can make smart, informed decisions about your child and your unique situation.

If you still have questions or want more specific information about your child custody matter, contact L. Theodore Hoppe, Jr., Esquire - Attorney at Law today either by using our online form or calling us directly at 610-497-3579.

What's the difference between legal and physical custody?

When a parent has physical custody, they actually have the child placed with them. The child lives with this parent more than 50% of the time and this parent takes care of their everyday needs.

Legal custody defines who makes important decisions about the child, including decisions regarding the child's medical care, education, and religious upbringing. In Pennsylvania, it is most common for parents to share legal custody.

Does custody primarily go to one parent in Pennsylvania?

This is an incorrect assumption many people make. The answer is “no.” The courts always consider the evidence and the best interest of the child when determining the custody arrangement for a child.

What is the most common physical child custody arrangement in Pennsylvania?

Child custody arrangements vary based on what is in the best interests of the child. It is still most common for one parent to have primary physical custody and for the other parent to have partial custody. However, it is becoming more commonplace for parents to share equal custody of their children.  

If we were never married, do I still need a custody order in Pennsylvania?

Unless both parents live together, it is a good idea to have a written custody order that defines the custody arrangement that the parents have agreed to even if you are getting along well. This helps to avoid conflicts regarding custody. If you are in a situation where you and the other parent do not get along well, you should have a custody order in place.

How is child custody determined in Pennsylvania?

In most situations, when the parents of a child are able to agree on a child custody arrangement, the court will issue an order that confirms the terms of the agreement. When the parties are unable to reach an agreement on their own, they may have to attend mediation or a custody conference to see if that helps. When all else fails, the court will hear the matter and issue an order the parties must abide by. The court will consider testimony, the report of a court-appointed guardian who is looking out for the best interest of the child, and other evidence when deciding child custody. The best interest of the child is always the criteria the court uses in making these decisions. 

Do I need a child custody lawyer in Pennsylvania?

It's really up to you if you want a child custody lawyer. In many cases, parents mutually agree on child custody arrangements, and so that makes the matter easier. However, having a family law attorney advise you on what's fair (or not) may be beneficial in helping to reach that agreement. In contentious situations, a child custody lawyer is highly recommended. It takes skills, knowledge, and a lot of perseverance to make sure the child custody arrangement approved or ordered by the court is fair and just and reflects what you had anticipated.

Contact a Child Custody Lawyer in Pennsylvania Today

If you need help with a child custody case, contact L. Theodore Hoppe, Jr., Esquire - Attorney at Law. Attorney Ted Hoppe in Pennsylvania will advise you of your rights and guide you through the process. Contact us online or at 610-497-3579 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

About the Author

Ted Hoppe

Hi, my name is Ted Hoppe and I have been an attorney in Pennsylvania for more than 30 years. One of the things I enjoy best about being an attorney is meeting and getting to know the clients who come to my office. I have been privileged to build long-term relationships with many of these clients and am honored that they come back to me for advice when legal issues arise in their lives. Many of them have also referred their families and friends to me for legal services which, frankly, is the best thanks an attorney can get.


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