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A look at child custody laws in Pennsylvania

Divorce can involve many complicated emotions. These emotions can make many aspects of a divorce difficult, even messy, and they can sometimes make it difficult to approach divorce issues with a clear head. With help, however, it is oftentimes possible to set aside emotions and pave the way for smooth divorce.

One of the most emotionally complex divorce issues is child custody. Both spouses often have differing ideas as to what the best arrangement will be. Because of this, child custody hearings can quickly become heated, emotionally charged affairs.

For many Philadelphia residents, it can be helpful to understand the basics of child custody laws in Pennsylvania. Like many other states, Pennsylvania child custody laws follow that which is detailed in the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. Pennsylvania also adheres to laws that allow for grandparent visitation rights, as well as joint custody.

The most important consideration in any child custody hearing is the best interests of the child. Judges look at a variety of factors when determining what constitutes the child's best interests. This includes looking at which parent will best be able to provide that which is necessary to the child's emotional, educational and physical development, as well as which parent will attend to any special needs the child may have. When making this determination, the judge often looks at the histories of each parent, including any past drug or alcohol use or criminal charges.

Child custody issues are undoubtedly among the most difficult challenges facing divorcing parents. With the aid of a Pennsylvania divorce lawyer, however, it is possible to devise a strong legal strategy that takes into consideration the best interests of the child, as well as the parent's wants and needs.

Source: FindLaw, "Pennsylvania Child Custody Laws," Accessed on Sept. 7, 2015

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