That is a factor that we used to have in our law where the court considered who the primary custodial parent was. The new statute does not consider that anymore, unless you look at the last factor, which says any other relevant factor. There was a recent case in Pennsylvania that basically said this is no longer really a factor, it’s something that can be looked at but it’s obviously not as important as it used to be. Many years ago, we used to have “the tender years doctrine,” which basically said the child of tender years went with the dependent spouse usually. That was removed many years ago, but this was what had replaced it and now this is pretty much gone. This emphasizes why you really need a lawyer to figure out what factors apply in your case and to advocate on your behalf. Likewise, because there are now 16 factors under the statute, it behooves you really to have a lawyer learn the facts of your case, figure out which are the factors that need emphasis, and advocate on your behalf.
David L. Ladov is a partner and co-chair of the Family Law Group at Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP. He focuses his practice on divorce, including custody, child support, equitable distribution, abuse and domestic relations. David can be reached at (267) 675-4976 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robert Whitelaw is a managing partner and co-chairman of Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP’s Litigation Department and Family Law Group. He has 40 years of experience in practicing family law. Robert can be reached at email@example.com or (215) 665-300.