Montgomery County Child Custody Attorney
Until fairly recently, Pennsylvania law divided divorced parents into “custodial” and “noncustodial” parents. Divorced parents had limited contact, because the children lived with one parent and visited the other one. Today’s divorce laws are much different. Pennsylvania now has a co-parenting law. This law presumes that children benefit from frequent and consistent contact with both parents. So, in many ways, child custody matters are much different than they were before. That goes for both initial determinations and subsequent modifications.
Although the law is complex, most good parents only want what is best for their children. As a result, at Kardos, Rickles & Hand, our Montgomery County child custody attorneys help parents find long-lasting, cost-effective answers in this area. Despite what the co-parenting law presumes, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, we tailor our approach to your family’s needs. Although our approach varies, our commitment to your legal and financial rights never wavers.
Matters We Handle
The American family is much more diverse than it was a generation ago. Gone are the days when almost all children lived with a married mother and father every day of their lives until they turned 18. Because of this diversity, we routinely handle a vast array of child custody disputes, such as:
- Paternity: In some communities, there are more unwed births than wedlock births. Unwed parents face some unique emotional, financial, and legal challenges. We help these families overcome these challenges.
- Same-Sex Couples: Marriage equality is now part of America’s legal fabric. Child custody equality, however, is a different matter. At Kardos, Rickles & Hand, we always approach these matters the same way we approach other stepparent child custody issues.
- Grandparents’ Rights: Pennsylvania has a strong “Father Knows Best” presumption which gives parents considerable control as to where children spend their time. But this presumption is not absolute, and grandparents still have legal rights.
- Move-Away Modifications: Since most people relocate so frequently, these modifications are among the most common types of actions. Both relocating and non-relocating parents have a say in this process.
Frequently, these disputes settle during mediation. This alternative dispute resolution mechanism reduces legal fees and empowers parents to talk through their problems, even if they seem hopelessly far apart at the beginning. If the parents present agreed proposals to judges, most courts approve them without requiring hearings. So, mediation also avoids the emotional showdown that a trial usually involves and gives the parties more control over the outcome.
Best Interests of the Children
In all these disputes, the best interests of the children is always the overriding concern. But this concept is rather abstract. Additionally, different parents have different visions. So, Pennsylvania law establishes a number of factors, such as:
- Ability to co-parent,
- Prior domestic violence,
- Parental responsibilities during the marriage,
- Status quo for the children,
- Availability of a support network,
- Children’s relationships with step relatives,
- Preference of the children, and
- Preference of the parents.
Many of these factors change over time. If that happens, and the changed circumstances are substantial and permanent, a motion to modify might be in order.
Reach Out to a Dedicated Attorney
Child custody decisions must be in the best interests of the children. For a confidential consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Montgomery County, contact Kardos, Rickles & Hand. Convenient payment plans are available.