Experienced Representation In Child Custody Matters
Child custody issues can take a toll on both the parents and the children in a family. It is therefore important to ensure that whatever custody arrangement is worked out is in the best interest of the children while preserving a healthy relationship between the parties. We know that the current child custody law in Pennsylvania can be confusing and intimidating. Maria P. Cognetti was instrumental in drafting the major revisions to Pennsylvania’s custody laws that went into effect in 2011, and she and her staff can help you understand the intricacies of this new custody statute. Cognetti & Associates is known for taking on complex custody cases, including those that involve mental health issues and high levels of conflicts. We keep you involved every step of the way, and you can be confident that our team has your children’s best interests at heart.
What does the court consider when determining custody?
Prior to the entry of a custody order, the court must determine what custody arrangement is in the “best interests of the child.” Factors that weigh into this consideration include, but are not limited to:
- Which party is more likely to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and another party
- The present and past abuse committed by a party or member of the party’s household, whether there is a continued risk of harm to the child or an abused party and which party can better provide adequate physical safeguards and supervision of the child
- The parental duties performed by each party on behalf of the child
- The need for stability and continuity in the child’s education, family and community life
- The availability of extended family
- The child’s sibling relationships
- The well-reasoned preference of the child, based on the child’s maturity and judgment
- The attempts of a parent to turn the child against the other parent
- Which party is more likely to maintain a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship with the child, adequate for the child’s emotional needs
- Which party is more likely to attend to the daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational and special needs of the child
- The proximity of the residences of the parties
- Each party’s availability to care for the child or ability to make appropriate child care arrangements
- The level of conflict between the parties and the willingness and ability of the parties to cooperate with one another
- The history of drug or alcohol abuse of a party or member of a party’s household
- The mental and physical condition of a party or member of a party’s household
The court may also consider other evidence presented if the court finds such evidence to be relevant or important to the custody consideration.