Custody of minor children is always a difficult topic. Naturally, you want the best for your children and you want to protect them as much as possible. It is important to know going into this process that there are two types of custody: Physical Custody and Legal Custody.
Physical Custody is what most people think of when they hear the word “custody”- who physically has the child and ensures the child’s daily needs are being met.
Legal Custody, on the other hand, is the right to make decisions on behalf of a minor child, such as their religious upbringing, their education, whether they will receive vaccinations, etc.
If both parents are still living together, Custody cannot be filed for until the parties are no longer residing together. However, the parties are free to make an agreement outside of Court as to how physical and legal custody will be divided when the parents do physically separate.
Even if the parents are amicable, a Custody Order is always advisable. Unfortunately, you may not find out you need one until it is too late. If there is no formal Agreement, nothing can be enforced if one parent decides not continue with the typical schedule. The police will not remove a child from a parent’s custody unless there is a formal Custody Order or other limited circumstances. The Charleston Firm will always work diligently to get the matter into Court as soon as possible, but it is never fast enough for an anxious parent. It is important to protect both you and your children. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until it is too late.
Please note that as parents, if you have a Custody Agreement or a Custody Order in place, you are always free to alter it so long as the other parent agrees. If both parents agree to switch Custody days or places, it is acceptable to do so without Court approval. Congratulations on co-parenting together! In the long run, this will be a much healthier decision for you and your children. However, if the parents cannot come to an agreement to deviate from the Custody Order, the Custody Order will stand and must be obeyed.
If parents cannot agree on how Custody will be divided, the Court will make the decision. The Court considers a number of factors when determining Custody, including what they believe to be in the best interest of the child. It is vital to have an experienced lawyer on your side to assist you in what could be the most important determination of your child’s life
Types of Custody Arrangements:
- Shared Custody: Each parent has about the same Custody time with the children.
- Partial Custody: One parent has the children less than half of the time.
- Primary Custody: One parent has the children more than half of the time.
- Sole Custody: One parent exclusively has the children.
- Visitation: Grandparents and select parents may be approved for visitation with the children. This may or may not be supervised.
Let The Charleston Firm help guide you through this difficult process. When the Custody of your child is at risk, make sure you have the right attorney to protect your rights as a parent.
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WEST CHESTER, PA 19380