Child Custody

Resolving issues related to child custody and visitation is often the most disputed process in divorce proceedings. When children are involved, the custodial schedule can vary greatly depending on the relationship between the parents. At times, one parent may request unreasonable custody arrangements. The family law attorneys at Sweeney & Neary, LLP provide a voice of reason during these difficult times by working with our clients to ensure that all decisions are focused upon the best interests of their children.

The experienced family law attorneys at Sweeney & Neary, LLP understand the sensitive nature of matters related to child custody and will handle your legal matters with the utmost care and attention to detail. When disputes arise over child custody or visitation, we will work to help you resolve them amicably. We help clients determine their goals and work through issues that can affect child custody, including: children’s schedules and needs, parents’ schedules and needs, child support, tuition for college and private school, relocation issues and other related matters.

We are proficient at resolving child custody disputes through negotiation and also offer mediation services. However, when courtroom action is necessary, we are fully prepared. We pride ourselves on our reputation as leaders in the legal profession – particularly with our litigation experience – and attribute much of that success to the wealth of knowledge that we offer to our clients.

Evolution of Awarding Joint Physical Custody

Over the years, there has been a shift away from awarding primary physical custody to one parent in child custody cases. In Pennsylvania, joint physical custody (also called “equal physical custody” or “50/50 custody”) is becoming more prevalent as courts recognize the importance for both parents to be actively involved in the lives of their children. However, the court carefully examines all factors under Pennsylvania law. Some of the 16 factors the Court must consider include the parents’ prior involvement in the children’s upbringing, the living arrangements at each parent’s house and the needs of the children. Ultimately, the goal of the custody arrangement is meant to suit the best interests of the child/children.

Child Custody Arrangements

Shared physical custody schedules create a need for both parents to modify their lives, including their schedules and housing arrangements, in order to maximize quality time with their children. There is an adjustment period as the parents and children get used to the children spending time in two households. It is important that the parents support their children during this difficult time. At Sweeney & Neary, LLP, we can offer suggestions to help with this transition.

Modified Child Custody Arrangements

From time-to-time, a parent may request to modify current custody arrangements due to a significant change in a parent or child’s circumstances, such as job loss, disability, parent relocation or permanent change in work schedule. This can cause a conflict when one parent feels that the situation is inequitable.

When deciding the allocation of a child’s time, it is critical to keep the child’s best interest in mind. The requesting parent must prove that a change in the existing parenting schedule is in the best interest of the child or children. If the parents cannot reach an agreement, the courts will move forward to impose an arrangement.

Our family lawyers can help you with establishing or modifying an existing custody order. Regardless of the circumstance, the family law attorneys at Sweeney & Neary LLP will always work to reach decisions that are focused upon your children’s best interests.