If you are going through a divorce in Pennsylvania, things are probably already stressful enough without having to worry about who will get custody of your child. Yet if you and your spouse can not agree on a plan for joint custody or visitation, the court will decide for you.
In deciding who gets custody of a child in a divorce, the court attempts to make a decision that would be in the child’s best interest. It is helpful to understand what kinds of things the court looks at, especially if you are seeking to be awarded custody of your child.
Things the court frowns upon
The Pennsylvania General Assembly provides the legal statute that applies for determining child custody in divorce cases, and there are certain things that the courts will see as reflecting poorly on a parent’s ability to raise his or her child effectively. If you are in poor mental condition or you have a history of alcohol and drug abuse, the court may see you in a less favorable light.
If you have a clean history and are in good condition to provide care for your child, there are still other circumstances the court will look at. Your ability to provide child-care arrangements, including your proximity to your child’s school and daycare, will be considered. The court also will seek to provide custody to the party who is most likely to attend to the child’s emotional, developmental and physical needs.
If you can show that you can consistently maintain a nurturing and loving relationship with your child while being able to perform all parental duties, the court may award custody to you.