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Child Custody in PA: Which Parent is Best?

Posted By Cairns Law Offices || 27-Mar-2017

When parents decide to divorce in Pennsylvania, they will have a lot to consider, especially in regards to child custody. As every divorcing parent knows, child custody can be a very sensitive issue. What works for one family, may not work for the next.

For example, just because your neighbor got her three kids in the divorce and her ex-husband only sees the children every other weekend, that doesn’t mean the identical arrangement would be best for your family.

Suppose you’re a mother and you travel out-of-state regularly to meet clients. In this case, it may make more sense to share equal custody with your husband (who works from home) so he can watch the kids when you travel. Or, perhaps you’re a father whose wife has a substance abuse problem.

Even though your wife has been a stay-at-home mother for five years, her drug habit has made it so she cannot properly care for the children. Instead of having the kids stay with your wife, you both agree she’s better off living with her mother alone and seeking treatment until she can (hopefully) overcome her addiction.

Your neighbor, Cindy, another stay-at-home mom like your wife, may have a nearly identical house and she may have the same wallpaper, and her kids may attend the same school, but the fact that the kids stayed with her in the divorce has nothing to do with your divorce and child custody situation. Your wife's addiction changed all that. When it comes to child custody in a Pennsylvania divorce case, it all comes down to the best interests of the children.

The Ultimate Goal: To Reach an Agreement

At our firm, we deal with no-fault, uncontested divorces where child custody is not a point of contention; however, that doesn’t mean that the parents are 100% satisfied with the situation. Even though our clients agree on all aspects of the divorce, including child custody, it doesn’t mean that the parents share custody equally; it just means the parents are able to reach an “agreement” over child custody.

Let’s say you’re a mother who is divorcing. Your husband says he wants to take a job in Texas, which will pay him a lot more than he’s earning now. Reluctantly, you agree to keep the children here in Pennsylvania so they can attend the same school and grow up in the same home they’ve always lived in. Even though it pains you to see him move away and have the burden of raising the children fall upon you, you’re still willing to let him go because you don’t see a better option.

When it comes to child custody and divorce, it’s best for the parents to come up with a plan that is in their children’s best interests. Whenever emotions get in the way, it’s important for parents to take a step back and aim for a decision that ultimately serves their children’s needs. That said, here are some considerations for parents to factor in:

  • The children’s relationship to each parent
  • The children’s ties to their school and the community
  • What the child desires
  • Each parent’s ability to support the children
  • Each parent’s work schedule
  • The children’s relationships with extended family
  • Each parent’s support network (e.g. family that will help)
  • Each parent’s ability to give the children time and attention
  • Any history of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Ay history of domestic violence

At Cairns Law Offices, we help people obtain, quick, affordable, no-fault divorces throughout Pennsylvania. If you’re interested in obtaining a simple, low-cost divorce, don’t hesitate to contact our firm for a free divorce consultation! We’re here to help you reach a child custody arrangement that is in your family’s best interests.