Having a legal custody order in place protects the relationship of both parents with their child after a divorce. Working together with your estranged spouse to make a plan can facilitate a healthy coparenting relationship and establish expectations for the next phase of life.
These are some of the factors to consider when negotiating a child custody agreement in Pennsylvania.
Develop a parenting plan
The complete custody schedule will appear in the parenting plan you and your spouse submit to the judge. You can develop a plan that works for your family. Otherwise, you must ask the court to decide on your behalf, which may result in a standard custody order that does not meet your needs.
Think about location
Depending on the ages of your children and other factors, they may adjust better with joint custody rather than sole custody or vice versa. Decide whether you and your former spouse will leave near one another. Doing so will help your children move freely between houses and feel comfortable with both parents. You should also consider whether either parent may want to move out of Pennsylvania in the future. Your parenting plan can contain provisions such as the need for permission for either parent to move out of the county.
When you cannot agree with your former spouse on these issues, you can consider mediation before entering the litigation process. With this process, both of you and your attorneys meet with a professional mediator. He or she will help you come up with a workable solution for both parties.