Custody & Parenting Time Frequent Questions

Wilkes-Barre, PA Family Law Attorneys

What if I am unable to get along with my ex-spouse? How do we manage parenting time together?

Electronic communication, that is, email and texting, have revolutionized post breakup and post divorce relationships.  Generally, after a split the parties are emotional and neither wants to have contact with the other.  The parties are unable to communicate with one another and inevitably argue.  When there are children involved, contact is necessary. Electronic communication can help to reduce the tension of direct contact via phone or in person and the arguments about custody schedules, drop off or pick up times, sick days, school or extracurricular events, etc. Electronic communication can also help to reduce misunderstandings between the parties about what the other is agreeable to or not agreeable to. More importantly, it can eliminate arguments in front of children.  For these reasons, the Courts now encourage electronic communication in custody actions. Return to Top

Who determines what is actually in "The Best Interest of a Child?"

In a custody action, the Courts are guided by what is in "the best interest of the child". You may feel strongly about what you believe is in the "best interest of your child", however, do not be surprised if the Court comes to a different conclusion. "Best interest of a child" can mean something different in each case. It can also have a different meaning to different people and so the law provides a guide or list of factors for the Courts in deciding what is in the "best interest of a child." Before pursuing an action for custody, know what factors the law requires the Court to consider and speak to an attorney who has experience in custody cases before your local Court.Return to Top

Physical Custody vs. Legal Custody: What is the difference?

Physical custody is the actual physical possession and control of a minor child.  Physical custody can be shared, primary to one parent and partial to another, it can be awarded solely to one parent or it could be supervised. Under the new PA custody law, visitation is no more. Legal custody is the right to make major decisions that affect the interests of a minor child and to have access to records and information pertaining to a child including medical, dental, religious and school records. Legal custody can be shared between parents or one parent may have sole legal custody. A parent may not be denied access to a child's records or information based on a physical custody schedule.  
If you have a child custody problem, feel free to call me and we can discuss to how solve your custody problem.Return to Top

Relocation Factors of New Child Custody Statute Must Be Considered For All Relocation Hearings

In an opinion by Judge Donahue of the PA Superior Court in the matter of C.R.F. III v. S.E.F., 45 A.3d 441 (Pa. Superior. 2012), the Superior Court held that the factors set forth in the new child custody statute, 23 PA. C.S.A. Section 5337(h), must be applied even if the petition for relocation was filed prior to the effective date of the new statute. In reaching this decision, the Superior Court engaged in a legislative analysis of the new act. The Court's focus was on the term "proceeding" as used in the new act.  After considering the Black's Law Dictionary of the word "proceeding" and its prior analysis in the case of E.D. v. M.P., 33 A.3d 73 (Pa. Super. 2011),  the Court was convinced that it was intended that if evidentiary proceeding commences on or after the effective date of the new custody act, the provisions of the act apply even if the request or petition was filed prior to the effective date of the act. Return to Top

Child Custody Update: Disclosure of Mental Health Records of a Party

The severity of a party's mental health condition is not relevant to a determination as to whether a party to a child custody action may be compelled to disclose privileged mental health records.  In M.M v. L.M., 2012 Pa. Super. 1958 (Sept. 12, 2012), the PA Superior Court held that rather than compelling disclosure of privileged information, concerns as to a party's mental health condition may be addressed by the court by way of an order of court directing a psychological evaluation of the party. Return to Top