Pennsylvania’s “New” Child Custody Law
In January of 2011, the legislature in Pennsylvania released a new, comprehensive and expansive custody law. Despite several years passing since this date, it is still considered the new custody law by many. This law was heralded as ground-breaking in many ways. One of the most significant ways is the true transparency of the law with all cases after this date. Before this date, when a judge would conduct a custody trial, they were guided merely by the “best interest” standard and could ultimately enter an order with little explanation as to why. After the new law was enacted, the Court now must indicate, one the record, the reasons they entered the order they did and must address each of the custody factors, one by one, indicating how they arrived at their decisions regarding same. Now, with this new transparency, parents gain a true understanding of not only what the judge’s order is, but more importantly why the judge ordered what he/she did. Family law litigants, now, more than ever, condition their clients from the first time they meet to provide information consistent with the sixteen custody factors.
At LaMonaca Law, we have litigated dozens of custody trials throughout the state, both before and after the new custody law. We have developed a system to work with our clients to allow the best possible evidence to come forward to the Courts. It is our job, as counsel for our clients, to provide a voice for them and to be able to communicate all of the factors to the Court in the best way possible, so as to maximize the chances that the Court will in fact enter a ruling consistent with the best interest of the child.