Commonly Asked Questions About Pennsylvania Child Custody
For most people, the custody of your children is the most stressful aspect of family law. I am family law attorney Angela Flouras Rieck, and I have over 10 years of representing clients throughout Lancaster County on custody issues. The following are a few answers to questions I hear frequently from my clients.
Can my ex and I decide on our own custody agreement?
In most cases, yes. In fact, the court encourages you to come up with a child custody agreement that works well for your family and your kids. That agreement can be made a court order, and we can help you ensure its done properly.
Do kids get to choose which parent they live with?
Not in Pennsylvania. People often think that at a certain age (i.e. at age 12 or 14), kids have a choice, but that is not true. While the judge might take their preference into consideration, it is only one of many factors.
Can we change our custody order?
If you have had a change in circumstances since the court issued the order, you may be able to modify the custody order. The court never considers child custody orders to be “final.” Families change over time, and the custody order is meant to change with it, if necessary.
The other parent is abusive. Will he or she be allowed custody of our child?
Domestic violence can play a large role in custody decisions. If the judge feels that the other parent poses a threat to the children, they may require supervised contact or in some rare situations, no contact at all.
If we have shared custody, do I still have to pay child support?
That depends. Child support calculations depend on a number of factors, and the amount of time your child spends with you is only one of them. Other factors include both parents’ income and the number of children involved.