Chester County Divorce Lawyers

Child Custody

Nothing is more important to us than our children. Since so much is at stake, child custody battles tend to be the most contentious aspect of a divorce proceeding. Although zealous representation is essential, there are ways to handle custody disputes so as to minimize the impact on your children.

People frequently make the decision to divorce because the day-to-day conflict within their marriage is having a negative impact on their children. The Media child custody lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, PC understand this. We strive to help families work things out in a favorable manner.

If you are in the process of divorce, a good place to start is by learning everything you can about child custody. This can help you make an informed decision. We have successfully guided countless clients through the process of obtaining child custody in Media.

Types of Child Custody

Generally, when we hear the words “child custody,” we think of physical custody of a child. The idea being that the custodial parent is the one who lives with the child and is the primary caregiver. However, the term “child custody” is actually slightly more complex. Many specific aspects of child custody are packed into this broad term, including: physical custody, legal custody, and joint custody.

Physical Custody

In determining who obtains physical custody, courts look to a number of different factors. The guiding principle is the best interests of the child. Courts rarely award one parent sole physical custody, unless one spouse has a documented history of abusive behavior, substance abuse, or other propensities that would clearly put the child at risk.

The most common arrangement is for parents to be awarded joint physical custody. Although traditionally, mothers tended to be awarded physical custody, times are changing. Our courts are adapting to women’s modern role as breadwinners who are equally significant in the workforce.

Legal Custody

The parent with legal custody is the one authorized by the court to make major life decisions on behalf of the child. Again, unless the court has very persuasive reasons to award sole legal custody, joint legal custody is the preferred arrangement. Absent or unstable parents may be denied both physical and legal custody. Even if one parent has sole physical custody, if joint legal custody is awarded, both parents must make decisions about a child’s health and education.

Who Obtains Custody—And How Is This Decision Made?

In determining who obtains custody, courts are always guided by the child’s best interests. Judges can consider any number of factors, including:

  • The child’s own preference (this is given more weight with teenagers)
  • Location of the parents’ homes
  • Safety of the parents’ homes
  • Physical and mental health of both parents
  • Any documented history of parental substance abuse
  • Parental criminal history
  • Extended family
  • Religious considerations
  • Stability of the home
  • Community ties of both parents

Custody and Visitation

Even if one parent is granted sole custody, the other parent is likely to be awarded visitation—the time the noncustodial parent may visit with his or her child. Details of court ordered visitation must often be worked out between the parents.

West Chester Divorce Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Have Decades of Combined Experience in Child Custody Matters

We know child custody in Media. If you are divorcing and have questions about child custody, we can give you the information you need and help you take control. We will fight for what is best for you and your family.

To speak with one of the experienced Chester County child custody lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C., call us today at 610-565-3701 or contact us online.

We represent clients in Delaware County, Montgomery County, and Chester County, as well as in the communities of Lansdale, Norristown, West Chester, Malvern, King of Prussia, Wayne, Drexel Hill, Glenside, Phoenixville, Havertown, Media, Norristown, Upper Darby, Chester, Downingtown, Coatesville, Pottstown, Springfield, North Wales, Marcus Hook, Lansdowne, Ambler, and Collegeville.