Custody Attorney in Delaware County, PA Guards Parental Rights in Media, Springfield, Radnor, Chester County, Montgomery County, and Throughout Southeast Pennsylvania
Divorce or legal separation raises many concerns about your relationships with your children. Some concerns are emotional: how will they react to your marriage ending, to the changes in lifestyle, to a new custody routine? But other concerns are legal and practical: how often will you see your kids, and what authority will you have to make decisions concerning them? If you do not firmly assert your parental rights, do you risk becoming a bystander in your children’s lives?
At Louis Wm. Martini, Jr., P.C., we understand how much your children mean to you and how precious your parenting time is. From our office in Media, we help parents throughout Delaware County get the custody and visitation orders they need to protect their parental rights and build strong ties with their children. Drawing on more than 30 years of family law and divorce experience, we are generally able to resolve parenting and custody issues through negotiations, but if your circumstances require a highly skilled courtroom advocate, we are prepared to fight for the results you need.
How Courts Decide Child Custody in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania law separates child custody into two different but related concepts:
- Physical custody — The rights and responsibilities of providing the child with a home and basic physical needs, such as food and clothing
- Legal custody — The authority to make decisions impacting the child’s health, education and welfare
Either form of custody can be awarded to one parent alone (sole custody) or shared between both (shared or joint custody). When one parent has sole physical custody, the other parent generally is granted parenting time or visitation. Because each family is different, custody arrangements, or parenting time schedules, can take many different forms.
Since no one knows your family better than you, it’s usually better for parents to draft a parenting plan in negotiations or mediation rather than leave the question for a judge, who must make a decision based on limited knowledge of your circumstances. We help our clients reach agreements and present plans to the court for approval.
A court’s approval of a parenting plan depends on whether it meets criteria for being “in the best interests of the child(ren).” The law requires judges to apply several factors when evaluating a parenting plan, including:
- Each parent’s ability to provide a stable and loving home and attend to the child’s physical, emotional, developmental and educational needs
- Any history of drug or chemical dependency or physical abuse, such as domestic violence
- The current status quo
- The ability of each parent to foster a relationship between the child and the other parent
- The child’s relationship with siblings
- The preference of the child when the child is mature enough to offer an opinion
At Louis Wm. Martini, Jr., P.C., we work closely with you to pursue the custody arrangement that is right for your family. We encourage most clients to resolve their custody disputes through negotiation and settlement. By staying out of court, you can maintain greater control over the outcome of the dispute. However, if litigation is necessary to protect your parental rights and your children, we fight aggressively for you in court.
We also help clients modify existing child custody and visitation orders following divorce when one parent relocates or other life changes require an adjustment to the parenting plan or child support order. In addition to helping parents in Pennsylvania obtain child custody and visitation orders, we also represent parents who are involved in international child custody disputes.
Contact an Experienced Media, PA Child Custody Lawyer Serving Delaware County
Louis Wm. Martini, Jr., P.C. works tirelessly to help parents obtain custody orders that protect their children and their parental rights. Call us at 610-632-6203 or contact our office online to schedule a free consultation. We are conveniently located at 206 West State Street, just a few short blocks from the Delaware County Courthouse.