For divorcing parents with children, knowing how child custody is determined in Pennsylvania is valuable information to have. Child custody decisions are guided by what is in the best interests of the child but parents may wonder how what is in the best interests of the child is determined.
The answer is that the family law court evaluates a variety of factors to determine what is in the best interests of the child. Parents are encouraged to work out child custody matters themselves but the family law court is available to help if they cannot resolve child custody concerns together. Even if parents are negotiating a child custody arrangement themselves, what is in the best interests of the child should guide them.
Factors the family law court evaluates in order to determine what is in the best interests of the child include the child’s relationships with family; the child’s location; the mental and physical condition of the parties; and the child’s wishes. The factors that will be considered focus on the child’s physical, mental, emotional and developmental well-being. Child custody decisions, based on what is in the child’s best interests are focused on arriving at a child custody arrangement that promotes the child’s overall health, safety and well-being.
Child custody arrangements can be different based on what is in the best interests of the child and the needs of the family. Utilizing standards such as what is in the child’s best interest can help parents and the family law court decide what type of child custody arrangement is best for the child.