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What parents need to know about child custody

Separating from a partner is never easy, and couples in Pennsylvania with children will have additional considerations when a divorce takes place. They need to decide who will receive physical and legal custody of the child. When a couple cannot agree on how custody will be divided, it typically becomes necessary to meet with a judge who can determine where the child will live.

When a couple meets with a judge regarding child custody, they will have only a short amount of time to make their statements and arguments. One judge may see several families in a single day, which means that each person involved will need to speak quickly and precisely when presenting their custody requests.

It's important that parents are clear about their desires and abilities when it comes to legal custody of any children involved in the divorce. The primary goal of a judge is to ensure the child or children have the same standard of living after the divorce. If one parent is unemployed or does not have the means to physically support their children, the judge may take this into consideration when determining where the child will live. Similarly, if one parent lives close to the child's current school, the judge may consider this as a reason that particular parent should retain custody.

Couples should focus on their children as much as possible and aim to ensure that the child does not experience negative side effects from the divorce. When it's time to consider custody arrangements, a divorce attorney may be able to offer information about resolving a custody dispute and assisting parents with determining visitation rights. An attorney may also be able to appear in court with the parent and help them speak clearly and meaningfully to the judge.

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