Types of Child Custody in Pennsylvania

When the parents of a child, or children, do not want to live together, the children are often left in a limbo. Who are they going to live with? After all, they love both parents equally. The difficult task of deciding who the kids will be live with falls on the parents. However, if they cannot come to an agreement, the issue will have to be taken to a family court for determination. Ideally, family issues should be negotiated out of court. However, it is understandable that both parents may want full custody of their child, but this is obviously impossible. When the matter is brought before the court, the court will consider a number of factors.

For starters, the court will consider the choice of the children in question, if they are old enough to express their will and answer a few questions to explain their decision. Secondly, the court will consider the history of each parent. Any parent with a criminal history, drug use issues and physical abuse history will be at a disadvantage. To improve your odds of getting the type of custody you are looking for, be sure to hire the top family attorney in PA.

Who Can File for Custody in PA

It is important to note that it’s not just the parents of the child that can file for custody. Obviously both of the parents can file for custody. However, anyone who has taken care of the child or children in question for a while can also file for full custody. In addition to that, PA laws allow the grandparents of the child or children in question to file for custody. After all, they are blood relatives and they have a proven track record of raising children properly, the best evidence being the parents of the children/child in question.

Types of Child Custody in Pennsylvania

In the state of Pennsylvania, child custody falls into two broad categories; primary and legal custody. Read on to learn more.

Physical Custody

Legally speaking, there are five types of child custody arrangements. The first is shared custody. This is where more than one parent have custody of the children or child in question. For instance, one party may have custody on weekdays/schooldays while the other gets to spend time with the child during the holidays and weekends.

Another form of primary custody is sole custody. In this custody arrangement, only one party has physical custody of the child or children in question. Partial custody is where one parent gets to spend less time with the child than the other party. There is also partial custody where a court-appointed authority is required to be present when the child spends time with a parent.

Legal Custody

It is important to note that legal custody is all about who has the right to make major decisions about the child, not just about physical custody. There is sole custody and legal custody.



  1. http://www.pcadv.org/Resources/20110719_Act112_Custody_Chart.pdf
  2. http://www.womenslawproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/What_Is_Child_Custody_PA-1.pdf