Few family law cases are as wrought with emotion as child custody cases. This is especially true in acrimonious divorces where the parents are unable to reach accord on their own and instead rely on the Pennsylvania family law courts to rule on the matter.
If you are in the throes of a litigated custody case, the following information can add clarity to your situation. In child custody cases, a judge wants to look at a few factors, such as:
- The age of the child
- The health of the child and both parents
- Any abuse in the child’s or parents’ history
- Whether there’s a history of substance abuse by either parent
- Which parent is the primary caregiver in the home now
It should go without saying that the foremost concern that guides the judge’s ruling is making sure that your child is cared for as well as is possible. If the court believes that you (or the other parent) cannot provide the appropriate support for your child, your likelihood of being awarded significant custody may be reduced.
How can you avoid having a judge rule against you on your custody case?
The best way to avoid having a judge rule against you on your custody case is to make sure you agree on a custody schedule outside of court. You and your spouse or ex-partner can devise your own schedule that best fits your family’s unique dynamics. This might be difficult if you have trouble speaking with each other, but if you want to do what is best for your child, you should put those feelings aside. You can negotiate for a schedule that works well for both of you and that gives you both the opportunity to spend time with your child.
Negotiating with the help of your attorney or with the support of mediators or arbitrators can bring you closer to a resolution even if you still must turn to the court for a final decision. Your attorney can work closely with you to help you negotiate for the custody plan you want.