The Pennsylvania custody laws are found in Title 23 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. These are the guidelines and the rules that parents in Pennsylvania must follow as they create their parenting plans. Here is a brief overview of some of the laws that parents should consider as they make a custody agreement or plan for their custody situation.
1. Pennsylvania parents should make a plan that is in the best interest of the child. In Part 5 of Title 23 in the Statutes, parents are advised that all of the decisions about child custody should be done based on what is best for the child. As a mother and father make a custody agreement, they should determine physical and legal custody based on what will best fulfill the child’s needs. The courts in Pennsylvania rigidly adhere to this standard.
2. Part 5 of the Pennsylvania Statutes contain the factors that the court considers when deciding what is in the child’s best interest. These factors include: the character of the parents, the current living situation of the child, the parenting abilities, if the parents allow the child to have access to the other parents, and if there has been any history of abuse or violence. Parents need to think about these factors when making a parenting plan. For example, it is unlikely that the court will approve a plan where a parent suggests that no time is given to the other parent. This isn’t in the child’s best interest and reflects poorly on the parenting abilities.
3. The Pennsylvania court has the final say in custody matters. If parents are able to agree on their parenting plan or custody agreement, they can simply submit it to the court for approval. If they are not able to agree, the court will determine the plan. Once a judge accepts a plan, the parents must follow it or they can be held in contempt of court.