Maintain Your Family Even After A Break Up
Ending a relationship can be a serious life change for all involved. Perhaps those most significantly impacted are the children. Child custody decisions can be stressful and complex, given parental care issues, work schedules and child care responsibilities, including medical needs, education, spiritual guidance and after-school activities.
Be assured that your child’s best interest always comes first. The team of child custody attorneys at O’Donnell, Weiss & Mattei, P.C., will provide you with both gentle guidance and solid legal expertise. We offer on-going counsel for parents who were never married, are separated, or are in the divorce process or are divorced. Together we will arrange for custody terms that are best for your child’s long-term happiness, security and healthy emotional development.
Common Child Custody Issues
Every child custody situation has its own unique set of circumstances. Due to life changes for both parents and children, it is not uncommon for child custody disputes to occur numerous times until the children reach the age of 18. OWM Law can guide you through child custody and visitation and modification issues involving:
- Divorce and child custody: It’s important to understand your rights and options as a parent throughout your child’s development. The life situation and needs of people tend to change throughout time.
- Custody and parenting plans for parents who were never married and for nonbiological parents: The law is complex for couples who were never married or when paternity was not established at birth.
- Relocation issues: Parents need to understand how moving out of state or out of the country will affect their child custody and parenting plans.
- Child custody and death: Understand what happens when one parent becomes terminally ill or dies.
- Child custody rights for minors: Once a child is old enough to express a preference this can affect a custody arrangement.
- Child support obligations and ramifications of non-payment: There are events that can affect a parent’s ability to pay the agreed upon or court determined child support. If a major life change happens, a modification may be in order. If a parent fails to pay and does not make arrangements or an official modification there are consequences.
- Grandparent custody and visitation: When the parenting dynamic changes it can affect the time children spend with their grandparents. The death of a parent or the grandparents’ strong bond with their grandchildren can also affect their rights to partial custody.
Five Factors That May Influence Child Custody Decisions
It is true that the majority of arrangements and agreements that are made between the parents typically work best. Why? Because when each parent has a voice in the matter they tend to feel heard. When two parties work together to find a reasonable solution, the two parties typically also feel empowered.
It’s also true that sometimes negotiations between parties isn’t working or isn’t an option. While every family is different, there are some things that are universal when it comes to Pennsylvania child custody. These include:
- What is best for the child. This is always what is the first priority.
- If the child is over a certain age, custody may be influenced by what the child wants.
- A history of domestic violence or abuse. This will affect whom the child lives with or sees.
- The parent’s ability to parent. Mental health, addiction issues and even job type can affect custody.
- How the parents related to one another. Custody is affected by the relationship the parents have with one another. If parents are able to work together to create a plan that works, this is likely to be accepted by the court.
Working with an attorney who understands your situation and goals can make a big difference when it comes to understanding your rights and options as a parent attaining the custody arrangement you desire for your child.