Divorcing when you have children brings on many questions. Here in our Langhorne, PA office, we help couples determine many post-divorce logistics related to their children. This can include how much child support you are going to pay or receive, as well as where your children are going to spend their time. Determining your parenting time schedule can be a bit difficult for parents.
First and foremost, for most parents, the most difficult part of setting up a custody schedule is realizing they are not going to be spending every day with their child. Children have the right to spend time with both parents, during the week, on weekends, and then on special occasions.
There are many factors that can complicate a parenting schedule including where parents live, their work schedules, where the child attends school, and his/her activities. If parents can sit down together, alone or with their attorneys, it is best to collaborate on a plan. If they can not do this, then the matter will go in front of a judge who will determine the parenting schedule. Judges often hear cases in which one parent would like sole custody for the sake of moving far away, making it prohibitive for the other parent to enjoy a 50/50 custody arrangement.
How does a judge determine a parenting time schedule in PA?
There are 16 factors that the court can use to determine the custody of a child. They include:
- the likelihood of the parties to encourage the child to remain in close contact with the other parent
- any past abuse
- what each parent currently does for the child and could that be continued
- how stable the child’s life is
- the availability of extended family to help
- the existence of siblings
- the child’s preference
- whether the parents put the child in the middle of their disagreements
- whether one parent is more likely to take better care of the child than the other
- the distance between the parents
- who will care for the child if the custodial parent is at work
- whether there is significant conflict between the parents
- any drug use, mental or physical abuse, or other relevant personal characteristics that may be present in the home
Most parents realize that when a judge makes a decision it is legally binding and must be followed. This is why it is best to work it out between the parties before the matter winds up in court. If your spouse is unreasonable we can negotiate child custody and a parenting schedule for you. Sometimes it is just easier to have legal representation in the room with you or to review your plans to get both parties to be a bit agreeable.