Looking Out For You And Your Child
As a parent, your child’s well-being and your relationship with your child are probably your biggest concerns. Your ex likely feels the same way. Your common interest can either create more conflict or bring you onto common ground. A skilled family law attorney can help you find solutions rather than making the process even more difficult than it already is.
At The Law Office of Angela Flouras Rieck, I find it to be much more helpful to my clients to guide them toward positive solutions when it comes to custody matters rather than encourage division. I am attorney Angela Flouras Rieck, and after well over a decade of representing parents in Lancaster County, I have seen the benefits of a civil approach to both parents and children.
Legal Vs. Physical Custody
The law recognizes two distinct types of custody over children: legal and physical. If you have legal custody, you are able to make significant decisions about your child’s upbringing, such as education, religion and medical care. Physical custody refers to where the child resides, either part or most of the time.
With both types of custody, either one parent may have sole custody or the parents may share custody. With physical custody, one parent may have custody most of the time, while the other parent has partial physical custody rights. The parent with the bulk of physical custody is often referred to as the custodial parent. Most often, this is the parent who receives child support payments.
Factors That Determine Child Custody
Pennsylvania law recognizes 16 different factors that the court may consider when deciding what type of custody will best suit a particular child. Although they are too lengthy to list all of them, here are a few important factors:
- The child’s safety and welfare: Any type of abuse or factors that may show a safety risk to the child will have a strong influence on the outcome.
- Meeting the child’s needs: The court will favor a parent who can provide stability for the child. This could include emotional and financial stability as well as supervision and support. This might also include staying in a certain neighborhood or school and maintaining ties to siblings and other family members.
- Encouraging good relationships: The law recognizes a child’s need to have a strong relationship with both parents and will consider each parent’s ability to work together for the best interests of their child.
Most of the factors somehow relate to these main categories. In some circumstances, a biological parent may not be the best guardian of a child. Grandparents and other relatives can also seek custody of a child in certain circumstances.
The Benefits Of Creating Your Own Custody Agreement
No one knows your child and your family the way you and your ex do. That is why I often encourage my clients to consider attempting to discuss the custody schedule with the other parent, either through the attorneys or directly, rather than leave it up to the courts.
Studies have shown that, when parents create their own custody agreement, they report better outcomes and satisfaction with the arrangement as well as a better track record of following the agreement. In addition, children tend to adjust better to their living situations when their parents find amicable solutions to custody disputes. Finally, it saves you time and money over litigating your disputes in court. I will be there to look out for your interests the entire time.