QUESTION:  “Who gets primary parenting rights?”

Divorce involves making big decisions. Perhaps the biggest and most difficult of these decisions is “Who will raise the kids?” There are two ways that this decision can be made. You and your ex can choose a custody arrangement together, or a judge can choose for you.

In 90 percent of cases, parents agree on a custody plan. But, sometimes parents cannot agree. Perhaps one parent feels that the living with the other parent will endanger the children. Or, the parents may be unable to cooperate for long enough to make a decision. In this case, the decision will be made in family court.

Pennsylvania judges must consider 16 factors when making a custody decision. These factors are:

  1. Which party is most likely to encourage and permit the child to have frequent and continuing contact with the other parent;
  2. Any abuse or history abuse committed by a parent or member of the parent’s household;
  3. The parental duties that each parent performs on behalf of the child;
  4. The need for continuity and stability  in the child’s education, extracurricular activities and family life;
  5. The role of extended family in the child’s life;
  6. The child’s siblings and the child’s relationships with those siblings;
  7. The preference of child;
  8. Any attempts made by a parent to turn the child against other parent;
  9. Which parent is most willing and able to maintain a healthy, loving, stable, and nurturing relationship;
  10. Which parent is best able to tend to daily emotional, physical, developmental, and educational needs of child;
  11. The distance between the parents residences;
  12. The ability of each parent to care for child or to make appropriate child care arrangements;
  13. The willingness of each parent to settle conflicts;
  14. Any history of drug or alcohol abuse;
  15. The mental or physical health of each parent;
  16. And, any other relevant factor.

A Philadelphia child custody attorney can help you protect your children and make you case for custody. Please call Petrelli Previtera at 215-645-4297 to learn more about your legal options.