Law Office of MaryBeth McCabe, Esq.
329A S. Main Street
Doylestown, PA 18901
Child Custody Attorney MaryBeth McCabe, Doylestown, Bucks County, Montgomery County, PA
Attorney MaryBeth McCabe represents clients involved in child custody disputes.
The duty to provide day-to-day care of a child and the right to direct the child's daily activities is known as Physical custody. Legal custody means the rights and responsibilities associated with decisions regarding the child's upbringing. The Law in Pennsylvania favors continuing contact with both parents as in the child’s best interest.
Typically, both parents share Legal custody and there is a split of Physical custody between the parents.
Determination of Custody and Visitation
The Courts generally honor custody arrangements agreed to by the parents. When parents can't agree, a custody petition is filed and the case proceeds according to each County’s particular procedures. Generally, those procedures are:
Custody Conferences and Mandatory Mediation
Both Bucks and Montgomery County require parties in a contested custody matter to attend a conference before a Master who will attempt to resolve the case with the parties. The Master does not have the authority to enter an Order for custody. Montgomery County also requires parents to attend a parenting class and a mediation session. If the parents do not reach an agreement at this stage, the case is assigned to a Judge for trial.
Usually, the Judge will order a custody evaluation prior to trial. The custody evaluation is made by an outside expert, who is hired and paid by the parents, on whose opinion the court will rely to decide issues of child custody. This decision is to be what is in the best interests of the child.
After the evaluations have been completed, a trial will be held to determine what arrangement is in the best interests of the child. Some factors considered in determining custody include the child's age, the physical and mental health of each parent, the child's wishes (if mature enough) and which parent is most likely to cooperate with the other parent to insure continuing contact with both parents.