When a family court decides who is going to get custody of a child, they consider a variety of factors. The first is parenting ability, meaning how well each parent is able to satisfy the physical and emotional needs of their children. Next, courts try to maintain as consistent of an environment routine for the child as possible. They also factor in safety and the child's age. Accounting for these factors is commonly known in courts in Pennsylvania and the rest of the country as the child's best interest standard.
Parents can demonstrate to the court that they have the best interests of their children in mind by providing attentive and loving care on a consistent basis. Enrolling kids in school and other activities, helping with homework and making a variety of parenting decisions can all help demonstrate this. Family court judges do not like situations where the child is unable to visit or live part-time with one of the parents.
When one parent wants to move far away from another, they need to prove that the child's best interests are taken into full account. This may mean moving to a better school, a more supportive network of friends and family or some other demonstrable benefit to the child.
When parents need to establish a child custody agreement during a divorce or amend an existing agreement, representation from a lawyer is essential. An attorney will advocate for their client and the children involved during mediation or arguments in court. When one parent feels their parental rights are being violated, their lawyer may be able to find legal remedies to the problem.