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How is Custody Determined in PA

Pennsylvania courts determine child custody by weighing a multitude of factors that consider the child’s best interests.

In Pennsylvania, a number of parties can seek custody, including parents, grandparents, adoptive parents, or anyone who has cared for the child for an extended period. When it comes to determining custody, however, the well-being of the child is the most important element considered. Even if the child has a strong connection with one person, the court may grant custody to the party that is best equipped to tend to the child’s physical, educational, and emotional needs. This process is often cold and calculating, and it can feel like your needs are not being met.

At Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC our Pittsburgh custody lawyers understand that a custody battle can be an emotional rollercoaster. We will guide you every step of the way, ensuring that your case has the best chance of reaching a desirable outcome.

Call (412) 471-5100 now to see how attorney Anthony Piccirilli can protect your rights as a parent or guardian.


Common Factors

Determining child custody is never cut and dry. A judge is required to examine every aspect of a party’s capabilities, from the parental duties they normally perform, to whether the caregiver or anyone in the caregiver’s home, has a history of drug or alcohol abuse. There are several elements, however, that are not taken into consideration, such as infidelity and gender (courts no longer assume that a child should be raised by its mother).

Many factors that are considered include, but are not limited to:

  • The child’s need for continuity in their education and interaction with family members.
  • The availability of extended family.
  • Whether or not physical or mental abuse is present in the child’s current household. If abuse has occurred in the past, what is the risk of continued harm? Which party will be able to safeguard the child from physical and mental threats?
  • The child’s relationship with siblings and other biological family members.
  • The child’s living and parenting preferences.
  • What are the parental duties normally performed by each party?
  • Which party is more likely to permit and encourage communication between the child and other family members?
  • Has either parent attempted to turn the child against the other parent, except when necessary to protect the child from physical or emotional harm?
  • Is one party more likely to attend to the physical, mental, and emotional needs of the child?
  • Which party is more capable of establishing a long-lasting, meaningful relationship with the child?
  • Is one party more likely to be available on a regular basis? Can the party make appropriate arrangements for daycare or another form of child care?
  • Is there any way for the two parties to cooperate for the sake of the child?
  • Does either parent have a history of participating in unhealthy or dangerous activities?
  • Does either party have any physical or mental conditions that would prevent them from providing adequate care?
  • Has a criminal record been established for either parent?

How We Can Help

If you are involved in a custody battle, it may feel as if you are being treated unfairly. It is likely that you only want the ability to raise your child in a safe and loving environment. Unfortunately, the courts do not understand the relationship between you and your child. Without the help of an attorney, they only see the inaccurate picture painted by the opposition.

Our Pittsburgh custody lawyers know that people are often taken advantage of in the legal system. Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC can help show the court that you are a capable and loving parent that deserves to exercise your parental rights. Call (412) 471-5100 today to see how your case can reach the best possible outcome.