Trusted Legal Counsel For Child Custody Issues

For many parents who are divorcing or ending a nonmarital relationship, maintaining a healthy relationship with their children and staying involved is a primary concern. Pennsylvania laws encourage as much, recognizing that contact and support from both parents is important for a child's development.

The court will consider what is in the best interests of a child when deciding custody and visitation matters. Of course, you and your child's other parent know more about your child's needs than the court. If you can agree to terms on what your parenting plan will look like, you will only need the court to approve it (as long as it meets the "best interests of the child" requirement).

Whether you expect to work out a parenting plan with your child's other parent, or it is possible there will be disputes regarding custody, it is important to enlist the assistance of experienced legal counsel like that at Vinsko & Associates, P.C. We have more than a decade and a half of expertise serving clients in resolving custody matters and protecting your parental rights.

Understanding Physical And Legal Custody

It is necessary to determine both physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where a child spends his or her days and nights. Legal custody refers to a parent's right to make important decisions on behalf of the child, including medical, educational and religious decisions. Often, parents have shared legal custody, meaning they have to work together to make these decisions.

Pennsylvania laws allow for shared (joint) custody, primary custody, supervised custody or sole custody. If a child's parents cannot reach agreement, the court will consider a number of factors when determining custody issues, including:

  • Which parent has been the primary caregiver thus far in the child's life
  • Stability and continuity for the child
  • Proximity of residences
  • Whether the child has siblings and other family relationships
  • The child's wishes
  • Whether one parent is likely to maintain a loving and nurturing relationship
  • Any history of drug or alcohol abuse and the current mental and physical condition of the parents

Temporary custody orders will be issued while the divorce and child custody proceedings are completed. In high-conflict custody cases, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem, an attorney who will meet with the child, parents, grandparents, teachers or other people in the child's life to help determine what is in the best interests of the child.

Contact Our Firm For Further Assistance

We welcome the opportunity to protect your parental rights and help you remain an important person in your child's life. To schedule a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers, call 570-550-0815 or use our online form.