If you and your child’s other parent are trying to figure out how to co-parent together, one of the most important points is figuring out your custody arrangement. Child custody disputes can often become quite messy.
However, when you and your child’s other parent are unable to work together to formulate a child custody plan that is in the best interests of the child or children you share, the decision will be made by the family law judge presiding over your case.
With that being said, attending family mediation may be the best option for your family if you hope to avoid this route. Below, we go into further detail about the different types of child custody in Pennsylvania and what to expect when you go to family mediation.
Your Ideal Child Custody Arrangement
There are two primary types of custody: legal and physical. Physical custody is held by the parent who the children primarily reside with, while legal custody refers to the ability to be involved in decision-making in terms of the child being raised.
Physical custody can be sole, partial, or joint, depending on what works best for the family. Generally speaking, the children will primarily reside with one parent (the custodial parent) and have visitation with the other (noncustodial) parent on specific nights and weekends. However, whatever plan will benefit your children the most can usually be implemented.
Legal custody includes the right to make all major decisions regarding your children and might include points such as where the kids will go to school; their medical decisions; what religion they are raised in, if any; what extracurricular activities they will participate in; and more.
This can be a sole legal custody arrangement, meaning one parent makes these decisions, or a joint legal custody arrangement, meaning the parents will need to work together to come to decisions.
These important decisions regarding custody should ideally be made together, as your children’s parents, in mediation, rather than by a judge who does not know you or your children personally. Another option is to work with a lawyer who can help negotiate your custody arrangement.
What to Expect During Custody Mediation
If you have made the decision to attend family mediation in Pennsylvania, you and your child’s other parent are hoping to work together to come up with a suitable child custody plan. That is an excellent first step, and finding common ground will benefit you during these mediation sessions.
During mediation, a mediator will be present, and both parties will attempt to voice their wants, hopes, and desires, as well as their reasoning for disagreeing with the other parent. The mediator will then try to help you both meet somewhere in the middle and agree on a parenting plan that can simply be sent to the judge to be signed.
Meet with a Child Custody Lawyer in PA
To better prepare for your upcoming child custody mediation session or if you are finding it difficult to resolve legal issues with your child’s other parent and are considering mediation, a Pennsylvania child custody lawyer at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C. may be able to help.
You can contact our office by phone at (412) 231-9786 or fill out the brief contact form provided below, and we will be in touch to schedule your initial consultation.