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What types of custody awards can be made?

If you are getting divorced in Pennsylvania and you have one or more minor children with your future former spouse, you will no doubt be very concerned about what might happen to your relationship with your kids.When it comes to child custody awards, there are two primary forms of custody that can be granted but there are ultimately seven different forms of custody awards.

As explained by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the two overarching types of custody are legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody grants one or both parents the right to make essential decisions on behalf of their children. These decisions include anything related to the health care, education, religious observance and other matters of their children. A court may award shared legal custody which grants this right equally to both parents or sole legal custody which grants this right to one parent only.

Physical custody pertains to the amount of time each parent has with the kids. As with legal custody, this can be granted equally to both parents or to one parent exclusively. It can also be granted to both parents but with one person receiving more time with the kids than the other. The former would be granted primary physical custody and the latter partial physical custody.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but to give divorcing parents in Pennsylvania an overview of the types of custody awards that may be made and what each of the various terms means for them and their children.