As a parent, all that you want is what’s best for your children.
When it comes to divorce proceedings and determining custody, sometimes your perception of “what is best” can be clouded by your emotions.
The most important thing you can do for yourself during this time is to know and understand your rights.
Similarly, the most important thing that you can do for your children during this time is to know and understand their rights. The Law Offices Of Greenbaum & Pinto have two very important tips to keep in mind as you begin the process of settling a Custody or Child Support matter.
Choosing The Right Attorney
Naturally, the first thing you’ll want to do is to find an attorney you can trust. What may not occur to you is that you must also be wary of the attorney that your spouse chooses to represent them. Be sure that their attorney has never done work for you in the past, as this may hurt you in the long run.
For example, let’s say that prior to initiating your divorce and custody proceedings, you were represented by an attorney in an unrelated matter which gave him access to your medical and financial records. If your spouse now wants to employ this attorney to represent them, you have every right to have your spouse precluded from using that attorney in the divorce or custody actions.
You need to know your rights at every stage of the divorce and custody process. If you are about to enter into a Custody or Child Support matter, you must begin your search for an experienced, reputable family law practitioner immediately. Click here for more information.
16 Factors To Help Determine Custody
When it comes to determining an award of custody, the courts in Pennsylvania look to what is in the best interest of the child. The courts will fully consider the following 16 factors as set forth in 23 Pa.C.S. § 5328(a), while giving more weight to the factors that affect the safety of the child:
- Which party is more likely to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and the other party.
- The present and past abuse committed by a party or member of the party’s household, whether there is a continued risk of harm to the child or an abused party and which party can better provide adequate physical of the child.
- The parental duties performed by each party on behalf of the child.
- The need for stability and continuity in the child’s education, family life and community life.
- The availability of extended family.
- The child’s sibling relationships.
- The well-reasoned preference of the child, based on the child’s maturity and judgment.
- The attempts of a parent to turn the child against the other parent, except in cases of domestic violence, where reasonable safety measures are necessary to protect the child from harm.
- Which party is more likely to maintain a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship with the child adequate for the child’s emotional needs.
- Which party is more likely to attend to the daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational and special needs of the child.
- The proximity of the residences of the parties.
- Each party’s availability to care for the child or ability to make appropriate child-care arrangements.
- The level of conflict between the parties and the willingness and ability of the parties to cooperate with one another. A party’s effort to protect a child from abuse by another party is not evidence of unwillingness or inability to cooperate with that party.
- The history of drug or alcohol abuse of a party or member of a party’s household.
- The mental and physical condition of a party or member of a party’s household.
- Any other relevant factor.
You should not go about this process alone. You need help learning about your rights, and you need someone to help you reach the best possible outcome for you and your children. We’re here to help you.