Ellen S. Kingsley, Esq - Family Law Lehigh Valley

Pennsylvania Family Law - Child Custody

Family Law - Child Custody

Child Custody

Legal custody involves your right to make decisions for your child(ren), including educational and health care decisions. It also involves the right to receive information and participate in these processes. Physical custody involves the right to have your child reside with, or visit with you (referred to as physical custody). Custody is commonly the most contentious and most emotional legal action. You will find competent and supportive assistance through this difficult process with the Law Office of Ellen S. Kingsley.

Pennsylvania courts decide child custody issues based on “the best interests of the child,” a set of factors derived from the individual needs of your child. Specifically, they are:

Family Law - Northampton County Courthouse, Easton, PA
  • Which party is more likely to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and another party
  • The present and past abuse committed by a party or member of a party’s house-hold, whether there is a continued risk of harm to the child and which party can better provide adequate physical safeguards and supervision
  • The parental duties performed by each party on behalf of the child
  • The need for stability and continuity in the child’s education, family life and community life
  • The availability of extended family
  • The child’s sibling relationships
  • The well-reasoned preference of the child
  • The attempts of a parent to turn the child against the other parent
  • Which party is more likely to maintain a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship with the child adequate for the child’s emotional needs
  • Which party is more likely to attend to the daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational and special needs of the child
  • The proximity of the residences of the parties
  • Each party’s availability to care for the child or ability to make appropriate child-care arrangements
  • The level of conflict between the parties and the willingness and ability of the parties to cooperate with one another
  • The history of drug or alcohol abuse of a party or member of a party’s household
  • The mental and physical condition of a party or member of a party’s household
  • Any other relevant factor

If you choose Ellen to represent your interests, you will receive advice as to how these factors can affect your custody wishes, whether you seek to establish a custody order or modify an existing one. The thought behind the custody law is that both you and your ex play important roles in your child’s life. However, special circumstances are taken into consideration that may affect the arrangement, such as criminal history, drug or alcohol abuse, domestic violence and mental health issues. Child custody can constantly change. Perhaps you or the other parent needs to relocate, or an older child requests a change in a visitation schedule. Maybe the plan that's worked for years no longer does, for whatever reason. If these things happen to you, with Ellen's help, you can make a formal request to change the custody order to meet your new needs based on your current situation.

At the family law office of Ellen S. Kingsley, in Easton, Pennsylvania, you will find the help you need to develop child custody solutions that promote healthy relationships between you, your children and their other parent. As a former social worker, Ellen truly wants whats best for your children and will do what she can to make that happen. You will be offered the quality representation you deserve, while forming a suitable custody & visitation plan.

There are many configurations of custody. With Ellen's help, you can find the custody schedule which works best for you and your family. The following are custody models and types:

  • Legal Custody - Legal custody refers to the ability to participate in decision making for your child/children, and to receive information regarding their education and health care. In almost every case, legal custody is shared equally by the parties, but sometimes, one parent is unable or destructive in their decision making. In those cases, you can ask the court to grant you sole legal custody.
  • Physical Custody - Physical custody refers to where the child/children physically reside. Family Law - Broken Family
    • Primary Physical Custody means that your child/children lives with you more than 50% of the time.
    • Partial Physical Custody means that your child/children live with you less than 50% of the time
    • Shared Physical Custody means that you have equal time with your child/children, shared equally with the other parent.

Child custody matters are complex because there are many different arrangements, and each one has different implications for your family. For instance, you may have sole physical custody of your child, but share legal custody with the other parent. With Ellen as your attorney, you will be advised as to which arrangement may work best for you, and specifically, what serves the needs of your children. You will receive help to hopefully reach agreements through open discussions with the other parent. If necessary, your position will be aggressively asserted in court.

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