It is common knowledge (well, one would assume…) that matters regarding custody are determined in favor of the best interest of the child.

family lawyer divorce philadelphiaWhen child custody issues arise involving natural parents and a third party, the third party faces a daunting task as the burden of proof relies on them to prove that the child’s best interest would be better served by separating the child from a natural parent.

The case of Schmidt v. Brown (PICS Case No. 11-1320, C.P. Lawrence, June 28, 2011) involved the natural parents and a third-party caretaker. The caretaker practiced extended periods of temporary custody over a period of three years, by agreement of the mother. Inevitably, the Schmidt’s requested primary custody and the court ruled in favor of the Schmidt’s. Most significantly, the court considered the trauma endured by the child during the initial separation from the mother, and determined that it would be repetitive and detrimental to once again remove the child after forming a strong bond and emotional security.

The court’s concern is to provide the child with a stable and supportive environment. Relevant factors include the emotional, social, and academic benefits derived from the child’s placement, the child’s overall development, and where the child is most comfortable. Furthermore, the court reviews the precedent previously set by parties. A pre-existing custody arrangement, whether intended temporary or otherwise, could affect the long-term custody arrangement.

If you or someone you know may be in need of legal assistance regarding a family law issue, please feel free to contact Petrelli Previtera P.C. at (215) 523-6900 and we would be happy to schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers for you.