Types of Child Custody in Pennsylvania

One of the most difficult issues of a divorce is child custody. Who gets custody of the minor children, visitation and determining parenting time can be difficult even under ideal conditions. However, custody issues can usually be revisited as circumstances change, and an experienced Pennsylvania family law attorney can help you obtain custody modifications when appropriate.

The types of child custody in Pennsylvania are as follows:

Temporary custody (de facto). This is different from court-ordered custody and refers to who has custody of the child currently. If you want to maintain custody during litigation you must file a request for temporary custody with the court.

Sole custody. Sole custody is when one parent is given both legal and physical custody of the child and the child has only one primary residence. Legal custody is the right to make decisions for your child concerning education, religious upbringing, discipline, medical care and other significant matters concerning your child’s welfare. Physical custody means your child lives primarily with you and you make the decisions about your child’s day-to-day needs.

Split custody. Split custody refers to a case in which there are two children and each parent has full physical custody of one of the children.

Joint custody. Under joint custody you could have joint legal custody, when both parents share the control and care of the child but that child has one primary residence; shared physical custody, when your child has two residences and spends at least 35 percent of his or her time with the other parent; or you can work out a customized joint custody agreement with your ex-spouse that is a combination of shared physical and joint legal custody.

Get your child custody questions answered

At the core of child custody issues are your child’s best interests. To talk to a caring and compassionate family law attorney, contact us online or call (215) 886-1266 to discuss your child custody matter.

Montgomery County Bar Association
Pennsylvania Bar Association
International Academy of Collaborative Professionals