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When your ex files for custody in Pennsylvania, you may be confused or uncertain about what to do next. Navigating the child custody system can be a challenge for single parents going it alone to raise their children. Whether you’re responding to a custody filing that your former spouse or partner already made or you want to file a formal custody petition yourself, it can be important to understand the laws so that you are prepared to make the best case you can for your time with your children.

Child custody cases in Pennsylvania

Family law cases can be challenging, so it may be important to rely on a community lawyer who is nearby and accessible. Since every state has different child custody laws, experience in the Pennsylvania court system can also be important when pursuing a child custody case. While it is important to get to know the laws yourself in order to understand your situation, working with professional community lawyers can provide a significant benefit of knowledge. Family courts in Pennsylvania determine cases by looking at the best interests of the child. They see the involvement of both parents in a child’s life as a positive outcome, so long as neglect or abuse is not a factor.

Understanding child custody options

The court will examine a range of factors in determining the best choice for custody. It may encourage parents to reach an agreement, and family law attorneys may help to mediate a custody settlement between both parents. The court will also look at financial and emotional stability and, in some cases, the child’s own views about where he or she would live. Custody decisions can involve physical custody, the child’s primary place of residence, as well as legal custody, the right to make decisions about a child’s education, religion and medical care. Either or both can be shared between parents.

When single parents face a child custody hearing, they are often afraid that their relationship with their children will be disrupted or undermined. A family law attorney may help parents to present a clear case for custody and work to protect the parent-child bond.