Child custody can be a confusing and difficult process to go through. Many potential problems or concerns may arise during the process of child custody. Luckily, it is not a process that you have to go through alone. Common issues or sources of confusion in child custody cases include certain types and wordings of custody orders, or unforeseen circumstances and the way that they can affect custody.
Courts generally make their decision based on what they consider to be the best interest of the child. The exact criteria of what makes up a child’s best interest can seem unclear to some. There is not a single common standard used, but several factors are commonly considered when determining the best interest of the child. These factors include:
In addition, the child’s preference is taken into account. There is generally more weight given to the preference of older teenagers. However, judges are not bound by the child’s custody preference, and if it is found that their preference is not in their best interest they may go against it.
There can be confusion about the distinction between legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody gives a parent legal right to make all decisions on behalf of a child, which includes:
There are certain circumstances which can alter or affect custody agreements. A parent can move with their child out of state, but only if they have full custody and receive permission from the court first. Moving without obtaining permission can jeopardize the parent’s custody rights. If a custodial parent passes away, then courts generally favor awarding custody to the other parent over any non-parents. Non-custodial parents must apply for a modification to the original order given. Grandparents or other potential guardians can argue for custody, but preference usually goes to a parent over a non-parent.
If you or someone you know is going through a divorce and needs help determining child custody, then the Media child custody lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. are prepared to help you through the process. We take care of cases throughout Delaware County, Chester County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, and Bucks County. For more information, call us at 610-565-3700 or fill out our online form.