Child Custody and Visitation
At Shemtob Draganosky Taylor, we recognize that no two cases are alike when it comes to child custody. As a result, we always utilize an individualized approach in these highly sensitive cases. Over the years, our firm has successfully handled hundreds of child custody cases, including those involving grandparents’ rights, third party custody, and same-sex parents.
Contact us to discuss your child custody concerns with an experienced family law attorney. From our office in Blue Bell, we serve clients throughout the Main Line and Upper Main Line communities, as well as throughout Chester, Bucks, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties.
Pennsylvania Child Custody: What Is in the Child’s Best Interest?
Pennsylvania child custody law requires that all child custody decisions must be in the best interest of the children. In most cases, this means some form of a joint custody arrangement between parents. In general, custody rights are divided into legal custody and physical custody.
- Legal custody: In divorce cases involving minor children, the court will frequently order that the parents have shared legal custody, meaning that both parents will be involved in major decisions regarding the children’s health, religion, education and general welfare.
- Physical custody: Physical custody addresses with whom the children will live. Even in shared physical custody arrangements, one parent may serve as the primary custodial parent. In some cases, the children will reside with one parent the majority of the time and spend defined periods of time with the other parent. In other cases, the parents may equally share physical custody of their children.
It is always our primary goal in any child custody case to achieve that result which is in the children’s best interest. If we cannot achieve this through negotiation or other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, we will zealously represent our clients in court.
In our growing and transient society, issues of relocation are arising more and more frequently. Shemtob Draganosky Taylor advocates for the rights of parents seeking to relocate with their children, as well as parents opposing such a move. The parent wishing to move must follow specific procedures to request permission to relocate and, in the event of litigation, must show the court that the move is in the best interest of the children. There are a number of factors the court will consider when determining whether to grant relocation, and a knowledgeable attorney, such as those at Shemtob Draganosky Taylor, will be able to help you in navigating these waters.
If relocation is approved by the court, the existing child custody order or schedule will need to be modified. We can assist with child custody modifications, as well as with other post-divorce modifications.
Grandparent Rights of Custody
Grandparents have rights in Pennsylvania. Under certain circumstances, Pennsylvania law will allow a grandparent to petition the court for an award of legal and/or physical custody. The requirements for a grandparent to have standing to pursue custody of their grandchildren are very specific depending upon the type of custody sought. The attorneys at Shemtob Draganosky Taylor are well-versed in pursuing custody rights on behalf of grandparents.
Grandparent Custody and Visitation
In Pennsylvania, a grandparent of a child can bring an action for any form of custody (primary, partial, visitation, etc.) when the following occur: the grandparent’s relationship with the child began either with the consent of a parent of the child or under a court order, the grandparent assumes or is willing to assume responsibility for the child and either (1) the child is substantially at risk due to parental abuse, neglect, drug or alcohol abuse or incapacity; or (2) the child has, for a period of at least 12 consecutive months, resided with the grandparent.
In addition, grandparents and great-grandparents may file an action for partial physical custody or supervised physical custody in the following situations:
(1) where the parent of the child is deceased;
(2) where the parents of the child have been separated for a period of at least six months or have commenced and continued a proceeding to dissolve their marriage; or
(3) when the child has, for a period of at least 12 consecutive months, resided with the grandparent or great-grandparent, excluding brief temporary absences of the child from the home, and is removed from the home by the parents. An action must be filed within six months after the removal of the child from the home.
Once a grandparent or great-grandparent files an action for custody, a family court judge will analyze a host of factors in crafting an appropriate custody order, including the parent’s / grandparent’s ability to appropriately care for the child, provide for the child’s physical, educational and emotional needs; who has provided parental duties for the child; any history of drug or alcohol abuse; and several other factors.
At Shemtob Draganosky Taylor, we recognize every grandparent custody case stands on its own. Contact us to learn how we can help with your Pennsylvania grandparent child custody or visitation case.
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