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How is child custody determined in Pennsylvania?

Obtaining custody of your child in Pennsylvania can be a long and emotional battle. Your child's wishes in addition to your own and those of your ex will be considered during divorce. If your child wants to live with your ex, you will need to show why this isn't a good idea or in your child's best interest to try to sway a judge in many cases.

Pennsylvania's child custody laws falls under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. The act was adopted in 1980 and offers joint custody as an option. If you and your ex get along and can co-parent safely, then this is probably a good option for you. Grandparents also retain rights in Pennsylvania. They can request visitation with their grandchildren.

A custody hearing will take place in front of a judge in most cases. The judge will look at your case and the factors involved to decide who should be the custodian of the child or children. The judge may consider who is more likely to permit and encourage time spent with the other parent, who can prove a stable and loving home, and who is more likely to attend to a child's emotional and developmental needs.

If you can prove that you are more likely to provide the things your child needs, then you may end up with custody. If your ex can show that he or she is best suited, then he may obtain custody. If both of you are equally suited, joint custody is an option. You may split time with your child equally or in a manner that works without disrupting your child's education or family life. Sound legal guidance can be essential for making your case for custody.

Source: FindLaw, "Pennsylvania Child Custody Laws," accessed July 29, 2015

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