Just as equitable distribution isn’t equal, child custody is not necessarily equal. In Pennsylvania, and most states, there are two kinds of custody. Legal custody is the right to make important decisions regarding the children, such as where they go to school, where they go to religious training, medical treatment, significant medical treatment. Physical custody is where the children live on a day-to-day basis. Generally in Pennsylvania, the parties share legal custody. It’s highly unusual not to share it pretty much equally, unless the parties are actually unable to speak to each other, unable to communicate.
In terms of physical custody, the court is going to try to maximize quality time with both parents, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be equal, 50/50. It could be every other week, it could be five days here and weekends there, it could be anything. The court is going to look to see what is in the best interests of these children, which are very dependent on the family. Each family can be very different from the next family, which is why it can be very different from one case to the next.
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 [email protected].
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 protected] or (215) 665-300.