The top concern most divorcing parents have is what the end of their marriage will mean for their relationship with their kids. Almost everyone has read or heard a story about a good parent who lost custody or who endures unfair treatment by the family courts.
The good news is that such stories often don’t include all of the details. Other times, they feature exaggerated or outright fabricated information. There are quite a few myths about child custody floating around that could confuse you. When you learn how untrue these myths are, it will be easier for you to take the right steps in your custody case.
The courts always favor one parent over the other
Many people have heard stories claiming that the family courts have a sex preference. Essentially, people believe that mothers almost always get custody, while fathers have to fight to receive any parenting time.
The custody laws in Pennsylvania talk about the best interests of the children, not the sex/gender of either parent. Each parent should receive equal consideration during custody proceedings, with the courts usually splitting custody between both parents except in cases where one parent can’t or won’t fulfill their parental obligations.
Disinterested parents have the choice of opting out
A surprising number of people think that fathers who don’t want parenting time or the responsibility of child support can just sign a document and end their parental responsibilities.
While there are circumstances where a father can and his parental responsibilities, such as when a stepfather wants to adopt the child, the Pennsylvania family courts want what is best for the children. Putting all the responsibility on one parent and absolving the other of any financial obligations would not benefit the children in most cases.
The court order is permanent and irrefutable
The parenting plan and custody order approved by the judge in your divorce are enforceable court documents.
While it is true that both parents should follow through with their court-ordered responsibilities, it’s also possible for either of them to adjust or modify the custody order. When there has been a material change in circumstances, the Pennsylvania family courts will revisit and occasionally update custody and support orders.
Learning the truth about how Pennsylvania family courts handle custody will make planning for your upcoming divorce a little easier.