Understanding Child Custody - Physical and Legal Custody in PA
|By: Bunde Gillotti | Dec 31 2012 | 379 words | 917 hits|
Divorce in many cases involves not only the two individuals that entered into marriage, but also children. It can be an overwhelming, and often times an exhaustive process, to sort out custody arrangements. The first thing to consider is two main forms of custody, physical custody and legal custody.
When an individual has physical custody of a minor, they have the control of the child as well as physical possession. Physical custody can refer to the parent with whom the child lives either full-time or part of the time. Sole physical custody is an arrangement where only one parent has physical custody of the child. However, in a sole custody arrangement, the other parent may still have visitation rights. There is also the option of a shared physical custody agreement where each parent has significant periods of time with the child and share physical custody. Physical custody can also be divided into primary and partial custody. Primary custody is when one parent has the child for a majority of the time while partial custody is when one parent has the child for less than a majority of the time.
With legal custody, a parent has the right to make major decisions about the child and their welfare. These decisions often include educational, medical and even religious decisions. Similar to physical custody, legal custody can also be sole or shared. Advantages to obtaining a custody order include: gaining access to your child if the other parent has control of the child; setting a fixed custody schedule that can be enforceable by a judge; having the right to make legal decisions in regard to your child; as well as having the right to have your child live with you. Even if you are the primary caregiver for the child, it is possible that you may not have these legal rights. If you file for custody, the other parent also has a right to request these rights. In most cases a judge will make the final decision.
In Pennsylvania, child support is a separate legal issue from custody. You do not have to possess a custody order to file for child support. However, it is often recommended. It is a common misconception that filing for child support will automatically establishes custody. This is not accurate.
This article is provided by BGMS-Law.com– A law firm that specializes in Pittsburgh Custody Lawyer
and Divorce Mediation Pittsburgh