Many of our readers in Pennsylvania probably know that child custody can be one of the most difficult legal issues to tackle in a divorce case. But, this issue can be just as challenging for parents who were never married as well. These days, all kinds of family dynamics can come into play in a child custody dispute. Parents are oftentimes best positioned to resolve these disputes when they stay open on the potential options.
So, what are the different variables that come into play in child custody disputes? Well, for starters, the issues of physical custody and legal custody will need to be decided. “Physical” custody refers to where the child in question will actually reside and spend time. “Legal” custody refers to each parent’s right to make important decisions about the child’s life, such as where the child will go to school or church, or what types of medical care a child will receive.
What are your options?
These issues probably sound like “legalese” to some of our readers, which is understandable. Can they be worked out in direct negotiations between the parties? If so, that might save all involved a lot of time and money. Or, in some cases, mediation might be the best option. In mediation, the parties interact through a neutral, third-party mediator, who attempts to help the parties find common ground to put together a framework for a resolution to the child custody issue.
Of course, some parents may find that they have no other option but to fight it out in court. If the decision is left to a family law judge, parents need to educate themselves on what factors the judge will consider when making a child custody decision.