Compassionate Lawyers Working for YOU REQUEST A FREE CONSULTATION

Child Custody Attorneys Serving Pennsylvania

At Shabbick & Associates, PC, we understand that disputes involving child custody can be some of the most emotionally charged legal matters parents face.

This process requires careful consideration of various factors including the child's emotional, psychological, and physical needs, and the parental capabilities to meet those needs. The goal is to ensure a stable, loving, and healthy environment for children to grow and flourish.

Located in both Bethlehem and Palmerton, our team serves clients across Pennsylvania, including Lehigh County, Northampton County, and Carbon County, with a compassionate yet driven approach to legal representation. 

Your Kids Matter Most

REACH OUT FOR HELP

Types of Child Custody in Pennsylvania 

Child custody encompasses the rights and responsibilities of parents to make decisions regarding their children's lives and to physically care for them.  

Pennsylvania law recognizes several approaches to child custody arrangements, across two main types: legal custody and physical custody.

Legal Custody 

Legal custody refers to the right of a parent or guardian to make significant decisions about a child's life, including education, healthcare, and religious upbringing.  

This type of custody can be granted to one parent (sole legal custody) or both parents (shared legal custody), allowing them to have an equal say in important decisions. In most cases, the court will award shared legal custody unless there's a compelling reason to grant sole legal custody. 

Physical Custody

Physical custody grants a parent the right for the child to live or stay with them. The court can determine different forms of physical custody:

  • Sole physical custody means the child is under the custody of one parent all the time, which is quite uncommon in Pennsylvania.

  • Primary physical custody allows the child to reside with one parent for the majority of the time. Typically, the other parent may receive partial or supervised custody in these cases.

  • Shared physical custody ensures the child divides their time fairly equally between both parents.

  • Partial physical custody means the child lives with a parent for less than half of the time.

  • Supervised physical custody requires a third party to oversee all visitations between the parent and the child.

Factors Considered in Determining Child Custody 

In determining the outcome of a custody case, Pennsylvania courts prioritize the child's best interests. At a high level, factors considered include:

  • Each parent's ability to provide love, affection, and guidance. 

  • The parental ability to provide for the child's material needs. 

  • The child's preference, considering the child's age and maturity. 

  • The child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community. 

  • Any history of abuse. 

The Process of Filing for Child Custody in Pennsylvania 

The road to establishing a child custody order begins with filing a custody complaint in your county of residence. Following this, parents usually attend a mediation or custody conference to discuss terms.  

If an agreement can't be reached, the matter may proceed to trial where a judge will make a determination based on the best interests of the child. 

Modification of Child Custody Orders 

Life is always changing, and a custody arrangement that once served the family's needs may no longer be appropriate. In such cases, either parent can petition the court to modify the custody order.  

Significant changes in circumstances, such as relocation, changes in work schedule, or changes in the child's needs, can justify such a modification.

Enforcement of Child Custody Orders 

Violations of custody orders are taken seriously. If the other parent fails to adhere to the agreed terms, filing for contempt of court is a recourse to enforce the order.  

The consequences for violating a custody order can include fines, make-up visitation time for the offended parent, and, in severe cases, jail time. 

Rights of Non-Custodial Parents 

Even in cases where one parent has been granted primary physical custody, the non-custodial parent retains rights, most notably the right to visitation or partial custody. Should the custodial parent unjustly deny visitation, legal measures can be taken to enforce these rights.

Seek Legal Aid From Shabbick & Associates, PC 

At Shabbick & Associates, PC, we pride ourselves on our ability to handle the nuances of child custody laws in Pennsylvania. Our experienced team will work closely with you, offering personalized advice and crafting strategies tailored to your family's unique situation.  

We're dedicated to ensuring that the legal process serves the best interests of your child, and, by extension, your family's future.  

We invite parents throughout Bethlehem, Palmerton, and the surrounding counties to reach out to us for thoughtful, effective legal representation in their child custody and other family law matters. 

Your family's well-being is our paramount concern, and together, we can work toward a resolution that safeguards your child's future and maintains your parental rights. 

Child Custody Attorneys Serving Pennsylvania

If you're confronting a child custody issue or seeking to modify an existing order, don't go through it alone. Contact Shabbick & Associates, PC today to schedule a consultation. With over four decades of experience, we're ready to stand by your side and guide you through each step of the legal process.