Parents seeking divorce in Pennsylvania should understand how courts determine custody and child support.
Child custody decisions have a significant impact on family life after divorce. Furthermore, courts can mandate child support payments to ensure parents remain responsible for the welfare of their children.
Child custody determinations
According to Pennsylvania law, the courts have an obligation to prioritize the best interests of children when making custody determinations. These rulings must balance a complex range of factors, including the needs and desires of both parents. The preferences of older children can also impact custody decisions. When possible, divorcing parents should try to reach an agreement regarding child custody together. Furthermore, parents should create a concrete plan for handling childcare responsibilities to avoid future conflict after divorce.
In many cases, courts mandate partial or shared custody to keep both parents involved in their children’s lives. However, sometimes courts award sole custody to one parent or allow supervised visitation. This may occur if the court believes a parent cannot provide a safe environment for the children.
Child support in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, the parent with whom the children reside more than 50% of the time is the custodial parent. Noncustodial parents often pay child support to help with the financial obligations of raising children. Child support determinations depend upon custody rulings as well as the net income of the parents. When parents share custody equally, the individual who earns more may have to pay child support to the lower-income parent.
Custody laws in Pennsylvania aim to promote the interests of children and families. Parents should learn about their state’s child custody and support rules while undergoing divorce.