Martins Mill Legal Center has lawyers to help you in Philadelphia Family Court.
In a perfect world, a mother and father raise their children together. Unfortunately, many factors arise that make co-parenting impossible. In today’s age it is uncommon for a family unit to stay together and more common for single parenting to take place. Sometimes agreements can be worked out during divorce or separation where both parties can agree to co-parent without having to battle with each other. However, more often than not, the legal system must step in and determine what is in the best interest in the welfare of the child or children involved. There are a few definitions of child custody recognized by the legal system:
This means having the right to make decisions about a child’s upbringing. If you have legal custody of your child, you can make decisions about their schooling, religion and medical care. If you share custody of a child, you make these decisions together. If you exclude the other parent from a decision-making process, this could hold certain legal ramifications. If the circumstances between you and your child’s other parent make it impossible to share joint legal custody, you can go to court and request sole legal custody. Getting sole custody requires a conviction by you to the court that joint custody is not in the best interest of your child.
This pertains to the right of a parent to have a child live with them. Joint physical custody is the preferred way to rear a child when the parents cannot live together. This enables the child to spend time between both parents at their separate residences. This works best when the parents live relatively close to one another. Most often, however, a child will live primarily with one parent and have visitation with the other.
One parent can have either sole legal custody or sole physical custody of a child. Courts may award sole physical custody to one parent if the other parent is deemed unfit. Usually, both parents have joint legal custody and one parent has sole physical custody. This means both parents make decisions regarding their child’s welfare but the child primarily lives with one parent and the other has visitation rights. Seeking sole custody of a child should only be approached when one parent is either not capable of making the best decisions for their child or may have cause direct harm to the child physically.
Parents who don’t live together but can amicably make decisions to benefit the welfare of their child will have joint custody (also called shared custody) of their child. They share every decision-making responsibility both legally and physically. Joint custody can exist if the parents are divorced, separated or no longer cohabitating, or even if they never lived together. If they can civilly agree on the best decisions that benefit their child, then they can have joint custody.
Regardless of what situation you may be in when it comes to child custody, it is best to receive the advice of legal counsel. At Martins Mill Legal Center we can help you determine the best scenario for your child and what your legal rights are to obtain custody without having to battle for it. In the case, where you must battle, it is even more important to have that representation on your side.