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Philadelphia Child Custody Lawyer

Philadelphia Child Custody Lawyer

At Petrelli Previtera, LLC, we understand that your children’s best interests are your highest priority. Each Philadelphia child custody lawyer on our team offers aggressive representation in the pursuit of your goals, striving for a positive outcome with the least impact on your children
Custody arrangements can vary greatly depending on the relationship between the child’s parents. Each family’s unique situation will affect the process of determining custody and the outcome of the agreement. A judge can award either sole or joint custody in a child’s best interest.

Sole Custody

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A parent with sole custody is known as the custodial parent, and he or she alone holds the child’s physical and legal rights. The non-custodial parent, meaning the parent without custody, maintains a parent-child relationship through visitation rights.

Read more about sole custody.

Joint Custody

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Parents awarded joint custody share the decision-making responsibilities and physical control of their children. Also called shared custody, joint custody could come in the form of a parenting agreement between the parents or a court order.

Read more about joint custody.

Determining the Child’s Best Interest

When establishing a custody arrangement, each court uses its own list of considerations to determine the best interest of a child. The factors vary from state to state, but some common ones include:

  • The relationships between the child and parents, siblings, family and household members, and/or other caregivers
  • The ability of the parents to provide the child with a safe home as well as adequate food, clothing, and medical care
  • The mental and physical health needs of the child
  • The mental and physical health of the parents
  • The history or presence of domestic violence in the home

These factors help the court determine the best custody arrangement for the child. For parents who can reach an agreement without going to court, these factors are helpful when developing a parenting plan.

How We Can Help

A Philadelphia child custody lawyer with Petrelli Previtera, LLC can offer full support for parents going through a divorce or separation. Our legal assistance and representation can start with divorce and continue through establishing a durable custody schedule and any needed modifications. When assisting with a custody agreement, our firm’s focus is always on the best interest of the child.

Depending on your family’s individual situation, reaching a custody agreement may or may not require appearing before a judge. If a court hearing is necessary, as your attorneys we will advocate for your custody or visitation rights. We can also help you and the other parent develop a parenting plan without going to court.

Common Questions about Child Custody in PA

Determining which parent gets custody of the children is one of the most overwhelming facets of divorce. As lawyers focusing on family law, we have answered hundreds of questions about Pennsylvania laws and procedures regarding child support and child custody. Below are a few of the most common questions.

What is the difference between joint custody and sole custody?

In a divorce agreement, joint custody and sole custody refer to specified terms regarding parents’ decision-making authority over the child’s physical and legal rights.When a parent is granted sole custody by the court, he or she is known as the custodial parent and has all legal and decision-making responsibilities and physical control of the child. The other parent, called non-custodial parent, maintains a relationship with the child through specified visitation rights.

On the other hand, joint custody means the separated parents share the responsibilities and/or physical control of the child. Joint custody is advantageous for the child because of the regular, continued contact and involvement with both parents. Each family is different, so the terms outlined in the agreement will vary from family to family. The objective is always to arrive at a decision that is in the best interest of the child.

Divorcing parents have the opportunity to discuss the terms and reach an agreement regarding child custody. If they are unable to agree on these terms, the court will impose an arrangement based on what it deems is best for the child.

Can I modify a court-ordered custody agreement?

Parents can modify a court order to change custody, visitation, or other rights. For example, a modification may be necessary if one parent plans to relocate or is temporarily unable to care for the child. It’s very important to take the proper legal steps to modify an order. Read more about modifying court orders.

Can I relocate with my children after I’m divorced?

Many states define relocation as moving a child to a new home in a location that makes it difficult for the other parent to visit the child per the custody agreement. In some cases, both parents agree to the relocation and make minor alterations to the parenting plan. In other cases, the court must determine what is best for the child. Read more about relocation.

Does a custody agreement have to happen in court?

Parents can develop a parenting plan with the help of their attorneys. If they can agree on what to do in the best interest of the child, there is usually no need to appear before a judge.

How does the court determine who gets custody?

When the court must step in and come up with the custody terms, it will determine if one parent is unfit to share custody. Factors to be considered include a parent’s living situation, past alcohol or drug use and history of abuse or neglect.

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of joint custody?

When joint custody is awarded, the children have continued contact and involvement with both parents. The burden of single parenting is also alleviated when the child is with the other parent. On the other hand, the children must adhere to a regimented schedule per the joint custody agreement. Read more about joint custody.

How do courts determine child custody?

One of the biggest concerns of parents in a pending divorce is who will get custody of the kids. At Petrelli Previtera, LLC, we know how these issues can keep you up at night. It is our goal to get you the custody arrangement you believe is best for your family. After all, no one knows your family better than you do.  We can help you negotiate a fair child custody agreement with your spouse. Or, if necessary, we can show a judge how your children need the custody arrangement you are proposing.

What is the Difference Between Physical versus Legal Custody?

There are two types of custody that need to be determined for children whose parents are divorcing; physical and legal. Physical custody is the right to have your child live with you and involves the day-to-day care of the child. If a child primarily lives with one parent, that parent is considered the custodial parent while the non-custodial parent could be awarded visitation rights to see the child. Legal custody is quite different than physical custody as it provides one parent the right and obligation to be the decision-maker for the child. The parent with legal custody will be the one to make decisions about where the child goes to school, their medical care, and what religion they will be raised to follow. In many custody cases, the parents are awarded joint legal custody, unless one of the parents is determined to be incapable of taking care of or making sound decisions for the child.

Whatever your custody goals are, we are here to help. A Philadelphia Child Custody Lawyer with Petrelli Previtera, LLC can review your current life circumstances to help you negotiate a custody settlement with your soon-to-be ex-spouse and, if necessary, could bring the information before a judge to help them side with you.

Can a family law attorney work with me to modify my child custody or support order in PA?

If you need your child support or custody order modified in Philadelphia, you may be able to petition the court to have your request granted. However, you will need to be able to show that any custody modifications are in the best interests of your child, and that there is a valid reason for any support modifications. Valid reasons could include:

  • Increased income of either parent
  • Decreased income of either parent
  • Modifications to child custody plans
  • Marriage or getting remarried
  • Having another child
  • Other relevant factors

Am I allowed to move out of state with my children without the approval of the child’s Co-parent?

It depends on the details of your case. Relocation within the state may be allowed within a certain amount of miles. But relocating out of state without your child’s other parent’s permission or without the permission of the court could put you in violation of your existing custody plan. If you want to move out of state, contact a Philadelphia family law attorney for help.

Contact Petrelli Previtera, LLC for Assistance

Determining custody can be one of the most stressful aspects of divorce and separation. To reach your goals quickly and efficiently, you need the right information from day one. Contact a Philadelphia child custody lawyer with Petrelli Previtera, LLC to schedule a consultation. We can answer your questions, help you get started, and ensure you are as informed as possible throughout the process.

Call 866-465-5395 to schedule an appointment.

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Client Testimonials

Here's what our clients have to say about working with us. Please note, results may vary based on individual circumstances.

Melinda Previtera, Esq. came highly recommended to our family. Her knowledge base, professionalism, and compassion paved the way for a successful outcome. Melinda is efficient, detailed, and informative. She helps manage expectations, and postures her client for a fair and equitable result. We are happy to recommend Melinda!

Jennifer A.

My experience was very good. Everyone was professional and attentive to my needs, keeping me updated every step of the way. I couldn’t ask for a better result, highly recommended.

David R.

My marriage life has been a hell for me for the past four years until I decided to put an end to what has to be ended. Choosing a lawyer was another additional stressful part of the long process. I’m so glad that I’ve found the right one for me at Petrelli Previtera. Life isn’t always fair, but at least having her in my corner, felt even better. I couldn’t recommend her highly enough!

Caitlin B.

Serving Clients at the Following PA Locations

Philadelphia1845 Walnut Street 19th Floor Philadelphia, PA 19103(215) 523-6900view details
Montgomery County516 DeKalb Street Suite C Norristown, PA 19401(610) 924-2870view details
Doylestown123 N Broad Street, Doylestown, PA 18901(267) 938-4480view details
Abington1147 Easton Road, Abington PA 19001(610) 890-4833view details
West Chester203 W. Chestnut St., Suite 204
West Chester, PA. 19380
(610) 431-4012view details