Pennsylvania family courts take into consideration the following factors to determine the best interests of a child:
- Which party is more likely to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and another party.
- The present and past abuse committed by a party or member of the party’s household, whether there is continued risk of harm to the child or an abused party and which party can better provide adequate physical safeguards and supervision of the child.
- The parental duties performed by each party on behalf of the child.
- The need for stability and continuity in the child’s education, family life, and community life.
- The availability of extended family.
- The child’s sibling relationships.
- The well-reasoned preference of the child, based on the child’s maturity and judgement.
- The attempts of a parent to turn the child against the other parent, with some exception.
- Which party is more likely to maintain a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship with the child adequate for the child’s emotional needs.
- Which party is more likely to attend to the daily physical, emotional, developmental, education and special needs of the child.
- The proximity of the residences of the parties.
- Each party’s availability to care for the child or ability to make appropriate child-care arrangements.
- The level of conflict between the parties and the willingness and ability of the parties to cooperate with one another.
- The history of drug or alcohol abuse of a party or member of a party’s household.
- The mental and physical condition of a party or member of a party’s household.
- Any other relevant factor.
All of these factors are to be considered and can be given varying amounts of weight. If you have a question about how these factors may affect your custody case, contact us today.