A proposed bill that has been passed in the Iowa House of Representatives will require judges to grant shared custody to parents going through divorce proceedings unless the court finds it is in the best interest of the child. The bill's proponents argues that the bill is a much needed update to out-of-date laws that don't place mothers and fathers on equal footing in divorce and custody proceedings. If passed, the new law would represent a substantial modification to initial custody cases.
Alaska courts issued their second custody order regarding Bristol Palin's children today. Ms. Palin, the daughter of former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, was ordered to exercise shared custody of her daughter, Sailor Grace with her Medal of Honor recipient former fiancé, Dakota Meyer. Earlier this year, a similar order was issued regarding Palin's older son Tripp, which granted the child's father, Levi Johnson, shared custody of the child. Although some people exalt this decision as a "loss" for Palin, who had previously exercised full or primary legal and physical custody of her children, this decision is all too common across the county as states increasingly favor shared physical custody.
Pennsylvania permits varying degrees of physical custody: Supervised custody, partial custody, shared custody, primary custody, and sole custody. Legal custody, however, defined as "the right to make major decisions on behalf of the child, including, but not limited to, medical, religious, and educational decisions," may only be shared or sole. Shared legal custody requires the parents to cooperate to make these decisions for their children, effectively giving each parent a veto over the wishes of the other parent. The lengths to which sole legal custody extend was explored by the Pennsylvania Superior Court in 2012 in a case called M.P. v. M.P.
Read what our Western Pennsylvania Child Custody Lawyers are talking about today:
In Pennsylvania, child custody is determined based on what is in the best interests of the child. Courts take many factors into consideration, including the stability of each parent, the parent's mental and physical fitness, potential substance abuse of parents, history of domestic violence, and the parent's morality and character.