PA Child Custody Factors

All of the Courts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania consider the same 16 factors to determine the custody cases that comes before them.
From Jefferson County to Philadelphia, the Judges are weighing the evidence in light of the factors summarized below:

  1. Which party is more likely to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and the other party;
  2. If there is present or past abuse by any party, is there a continued risk of harm to the child or the abused party;
  3. The parental duties performed by each party on behalf of the child;
  4. The need for stability and continuity in the child’s education, family life and community life;
  5. The availability of extended family;
  6. The child’s sibling relationships;
  7. The well-reasoned preference of the child, based on the child’s maturity and judgement;
  8. Any attempts of a party to turn the child against the other parent, except in cases of domestic violence where reasonable safety measures are necessary to protect the child from harm;
  9. Which party is more likely to maintain a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship with the child adequate for the child’s emotional needs;
  10. Which party is more likely to attend to the daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational and special needs of the child;
  11. The proximity of the residences of the parties;
  12. Each party’s availability to care for the child or ability to make appropriate child care arrangements;
  13. The level of conflict between the parties and the willingness and ability of the parties to cooperate with one another. A party’s effort to protect a child from abuse by another party is not evidence of unwillingness or inability to cooperate with that party;
  14. Any history of drug or alcohol abuse of a party or member of a party’s household;
  15. The mental and physical condition of a party or member of a party’s household; and
  16. Any other relevant factor.

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Custody Proceedings | Hire an Attorney if you can | Where to go if you can’t

You might be wondering, “What kind of attorney offers people information about representing themselves in custody cases”?

The kind that understands that not everyone can afford private legal counsel and being unable to afford an attorney should not prevent you from accessing the Courts to advocate for your children and fight to stay in their lives.

Even if you are thinking you can’t afford an attorney, schedule a consultation with an experienced family law attorney that practices law in your County.   A consultation fee is almost always worth every penny in the information you can glean about the Court system and what to expect.  You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that you can in fact afford an expert to help you with your case.  Even if that is not the case, it is always better to be informed about the process at the outset than to go in blind.

Below are some links provided by the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania about Custody Proceedings.  Some counties have county-specific forms available there.

Source: Custody Proceedings | Representing Yourself | Learn | Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania

2016 Child Advocate of the Year


Kerith Strano Taylor named 2016 Child Advocate of the Year

Earlier this year, Kerith was named the 2016 Child Advocate of the Year by the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Children’s Rights Committee.  The award was featured in AOPConnected, Newsletter for the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts