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What factors do courts look at when deciding child custody?

Pennsylvania parents who are in the midst of a child custody battle will usually want to know what their chances are of winning. In order to evaluate the strengths and merits of a child custody case in this regard, family law attorneys will generally look at the same factors that the courts will look at. This article will discuss the most essential factors courts review in deciding these kinds of cases.

First and foremost, the most paramount factor in any child custody case relates to the best interest of the child. No matter what the facts are of the situation, Pennsylvania courts will always seek to make a decision that ensures the well-being of the child and/or children involved in the matter. Keeping this in mind, courts will then look at a number of other factors.

For example, Pennsylvania courts will want to evaluate how capable a parent will be of caring for his or her child financially. For example, does the parent have sufficient income to provide for medical care, shelter, food and clothing? Courts will also want to determine how capable a parent is of physically caring for the child. In other words, does a parent have any health issues — be they mental or physical — that would prevent the parent from being able to easily take care of the child?

Courts will also look at the health condition of the child, the parent's employment, which parent the child prefers to live with if the child is 12 years of age or older, whether the parents have an emotional bond, what both parents want for the child; the parent's willingness to foster a relationship between the child and the other parent, the quality of life enjoyed by the child while the parents were together and other factors on a case-by-case basis.

Since children are our most precious possessions, Pennsylvania parents will want to put their best foot forward during child custody litigation proceedings. One way of doing that is to hire the services of a qualified legal counselor.

Source: FindLaw, "Getting Custody FAQ," accessed Feb. 19, 2016

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