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Important information about child custody

Child custody matters can be emotional and heart-wrenching for Pennsylvania residents who are embroiled in such a dispute. However, the more one knows about the law in such cases, the better equipped one will be for dealing with the emotional and legal aspects of such a dispute.

Generally speaking, child custody deals with which parent the child will live with, and how much time the child will spend with each parent. Several types of child custody exist. Joint custody is the most common these days. It involves a child living with both parents for equal time and parents sharing parental rights. Sole custody involves just one parent receiving legal and physical custody of the child. Physical custody involves decisions about day-to-day activities and who the child lives with. Legal custody involves decisions about important decisions relating to religion, education and health care.

Parents do not necessarily receive automatic custody of their children. Especially if one parent is seeking sole custody, the other parent may need to fight for his or her parental rights in court. During child custody cases like this, courts will evaluate a parent's ability to provide care, the child's emotional bond with the parent, and whether the parent has a history of drug issues, domestic violence or criminal activity.

Child custody issues sometimes show up when a parent violates an agreed-to parenting plan arrangement. For example, if one parent keeps a child for longer than he or she should, or if one parent refuses to let the other parent see the child, then this could give rise to the child custody rights of an out-of-line parent being challenged in court.

Source: FindLaw, "Child custody" accessed Mar. 13, 2015

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