Legal custody

When a father has legal custody of his children, it means that they are responsible for making decisions about the important things in their lives, such as the educational instruction they receive, their religious preferences, any important medical decisions, and the school they attend. When a couple is together, they usually make these decisions together, but when they separate, one or both parents may continue to make these decisions.

Couples can share legal custody jointly or one parent can file for sole legal custody, which would mean that the parent would make all of these decisions and keep the other parent informed. The default option is usually joint legal custody. If the parents frequently fight over decision-making, one parent lives far away, or if one parent is abusive and neglectful, a court may find that it is in the best interest of one parent to have sole legal custody.

Physical Custody

When you have physical custody of your children, it refers to which parent the children reside with on a day-to-day basis. If parents choose to share physical time with their children, they can request “joint physical custody,” which means that each parent will have equal time with the children. Joint physical custody works in situations where the parents live close to each other, so the children can move between their parents’ home and maintain their school and recreational activities.

If you have more than fifty percent physical custody time with your children, then this parent will receive primary physical custody and the other parent will receive partial physical custody. The situations in which the parents would choose this arrangement are those in which one of the parents lives further away. The partial custodial parent may request alternate weekend visitation and some weekday evening visitation with his or her children.

If one parent has the children most of the time and wishes to retain this type of custody, sole custody of the children may be awarded to this parent. This is usually awarded in situations where one parent is deemed unfit due to abuse or neglect.

child support

When parents separate, they are required to provide support on behalf of their children until the children become emancipated, which is until the children graduate from high school or reach the age of 18, whichever is the date later. Pennsylvania’s child support guidelines are based on the concept that children of separated, divorced, or never-married parents should receive the same proportion of the parents’ income that he or she would have received if the parents lived together. A custody lawyer will help parents file for child support on behalf of their children.

The court will determine the amount of support to be paid based on the custody schedule. In addition, parents must continue to pay unreimbursed expenses in proportion to their respective salaries. An experienced child support custody attorney can assist you in the process.