When you and your spouse get a divorce in Pennsylvania, one of the things you have to figure out is who will have custody of your children. At Huckabee, Weiler and Levengood, P.C., we know it is important for you to understand your custody options so you can find the best arrangement for your family.
You may think that custody simply determines which of you your child lives with. LiveAbout.com says that custody also determines who makes important choices about your child's life. If you have legal custody of your son or daughter, you can typically decide what kind of medical care he or she receives and where he or she will go to school. This type of custody can come in two forms, joint and sole. If you and your ex-spouse have joint legal custody, then you both can make these important decisions for your child. If you have sole legal custody, however, then you are the only one who can make these choices.
Custody also affects your living arrangements. If you have physical custody, then your child usually lives with you. As with legal custody, you and your ex-spouse might have joint physical custody of your child or you might have sole custody. If you share physical custody, then your child might divide his or her time between your home and your ex-spouse's. Even if you have sole custody, your ex-spouse can usually still see your child, as non-custodial parents typically receive visitation rights.
Your particular situation determines your custody arrangement. Most of the time, a court looks at your family's situation and tries to find a good arrangement based on the evidence you provide. A court might ask your child for his or her thoughts if your son or daughter is old enough to thoughtfully express an opinion. Although a child's opinion generally does not determine a custody arrangement, it may help you and your ex-spouse identify a good situation for your family. It is important to remember that custody arrangements are not always permanent. If a custody situation stops working, you can usually work with a court to modify the arrangement. You can find more information about this subject on our webpage.