Navigating child custody can be stressful for many parents during their divorce. It is helpful for divorcing parents to be familiar with the family law process and how child custody is determined as they work through their own child custody concerns.
Child custody factors considered in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania, as most states, uses a set of factors to determine what child custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child. Factors that are used to determine child custody include:
- The extended family relationships of the child and their siblings;
- The wishes of the child;
- Creating stability and continuity for the child;
- Which parenting duties are performed by each parent;
- If one parent is more likely to attend to the needs of the child and maintain a loving and nurturing relationship or is more likely to try to turn the child against the other parent;
- The proximity of the residences of the two parents to one another;
- The current physical and mental health conditions of the parents;
- Any history of drug or alcohol abuse;
- Any current or past abuse in the household or risk of harm; and
- Any other relevant factor.
The list of factors that are used to determine child custody is long and it is an important list because it is used, ultimately, to determine what child custody arrangement benefits the child most and is in the best interests of the child. Armed with that knowledge, parents can better negotiate a child custody agreement that is in their child’s bests interests and resolve their child custody concerns during their divorce process.