An Introduction to Understanding Child Custody in Pennsylvania


An Introduction to Understanding Child Custody in Pennsylvania

If you are a resident of Pennsylvania, and facing a child custody dispute, it can be difficult to know where to turn for help. This blog post provides information about the basics of child custody in Pennsylvania, from defining some of the legal terminology, to describing how to file an action that will get the matter into court. Read-on for an introduction to understanding child custody in Pennsylvania.

Legal Terms for Custody

In Pennsylvania, there are two types of child custody: physical and legal. Legal custody refers to the right to participate in making decisions regarding the child’s education, medical care, religious upbringing, and more. Physical custody refers to the right to live with or visit with the child, and it includes specification as to when and where that residency or visitation will occur. In some cases, the court will award joint legal and physical custody to both parents, while in other cases, one parent may be awarded sole legal or physical custody.

Filing an Action

If you are seeking a court order regarding the legal or physical custody of your child(ren), you must file a complaint with the court. The process may include completing an appropriate form at your local courthouse. In any event, the complaint must identify the parties involved in the case (the plaintiffs and defendants), as well as other relevant information, like dates of birth, addresses, etc. After filing this paperwork, it will be important to attend all hearings scheduled by the court, to be sure the court’s decision-makers are never without the opportunity hear your voice.

Child Support Payments

A parent or party who has been granted physical custody of a child may be eligible to receive court-ordered child support payments. These payments are intended to help cover basic living expenses, such as food, clothing, and shelter for the minor child(ren) involved in the case. These payments can vary greatly, depending on each family’s unique financial situation. It is important to note that, even if parents come to an agreement about financial arrangement “outside of court,” it is best to formalize the arrangement as a contractual obligation (if not as a court order), so that all parties involved are informed and accountable.

Understanding child custody laws in Pennsylvania can be difficult and confusing, but it is essential, if you want to protect your rights as a parent, and you want to secure what is best for your child(ren). If you need assistance working through the complex legal issues involved in child custody, visitation, or support, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced attorneys at LaMonaca Law. We will provide knowledgeable guidance every step of the way, so that you can make informed decisions about your future, and the future of your child(ren).  Contact us today.

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About the author

About Lawrence Welsh

A funny thing happened to Larry (Lawrence C. Welsh) on the way to his professional career in the practice of law. After graduating from college and before entering law school, he took an extended tour through the hospitality industry, working his way through both the service and business sides of hotels, restaurants and resorts in six states and the District of Columbia. Taking the business acumen and the ever-watchful attention to detail so well-honed during that experience into his lifelong passion to practice law has led Larry to his position as Chief Legal Counsel and head of the firm’s Forensic Support Team. Before joining the firm, Larry worked in the public defender’s office, through which he added an array of advocacy skills and trial experience to his resume. Since joining the firm in 2003, Larry has handled a full range of family law issues, which he continues to do, while lending experience and direction to others in the firm, particularly where and when the resources of the Forensic Support Team are most appropriate. Larry is also licensed in New Jersey, and he leads the firm’s New Jersey team operations. Larry is a multi-year “Top Lawyer” honoree in Main Line Today magazine, and he has been named as an “Awesome/Top Attorney” for family law and divorce in Suburban Life Magazine. Larry is an active member of the bar associations and family law sections of Delaware County, Chester County, and the state of Pennsylvania.