Filing for Custody in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County
If you and your child’s other parent are not in a relationship and have recently split up, divorced, or are otherwise not raising your child together, having a child custody agreement will be in everyone’s best interests. Below, we go into further detail about the different aspects of a child custody plan and how the filing process works in Pennsylvania.
Differences Between Legal and Physical Custody
There are two main types of child custody: physical custody and legal custody. When discussing legal custody, we are referring to how the parents will make important decisions regarding their children, such as where they will go to school, religious beliefs, activities they participate in, and the like.
Legal custody can be sole, meaning one parent makes the decisions without having to consult with the other, or joint, meaning the parents will work together to make these decisions.
Physical custody refers to where the children will be residing. Shared physical custody means the children will spend equal amounts of time at both parent’s homes, usually 50/50 or 60/40. In a partial physical custody agreement, one parent has the right to visit with the children outside of their primary residence and may have overnight visits at the noncustodial parent’s home.
Then we have sole physical custody, meaning one parent has no right to take the children away from their other parent, followed by primary physical custody, where the children primarily reside with one parent but have regular visitation and overnights with the other parent.
Other Custody Considerations in Pennsylvania
Once you have decided to file for custody, you should speak with your attorney in detail about what type of custody plan you are interested in pursuing. It is important to note the Pennsylvania courts recognize shared legal custody and shared physical custody plans as being in the best interests of the children when both parents are deemed capable, and rarely do they award sole custody agreements.
We may then attempt to come to an agreement with your child’s other parent, and if a parenting plan is met, we can then petition the court and have the order signed off by the judge. If not, we may go to family mediation and/or present our arguments to a judge for a ruling.
Seek Help from a Pennsylvania Child Custody Lawyer
If you need help filing for custody in Pennsylvania and are unsure of where to start, speak with a child custody lawyer at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C. You can give our office a call at (412) 231-9786 or fill out the brief contact form below to schedule your initial consultation.
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Strong SupportA team of senior attorneys, junior associates, paralegals and law school clerks for full legal support throughout the process.
Complex CasesExperienced with high income, self employed professionals in complex support and equitable distribution cases.
DiverseAttorney Lisa Marie Vari is trained as a mediator and collaborative family lawyer.
ExperiencedMore than 30 years of experience practicing family law in Pennsylvania.