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Legal Words of Wisdom: Child Custody

Rodney Warner, Esq
Legal Clinic for the Disabled, Inc.

There are many families out there struggling to stay together.  If cancer enters the scene, families may rally together or fracture under the pressure.

Under Pennsylvania law, if a judge needs to decide which person is going to have which duties and obligations for raising a child, that decision should be based on the best interests of the child.  The judge should look at several factors, including the desires of the child (depending on his/her age and maturity).  Generally speaking, the judge will want to provide stability to a child’s life. 

Also under Pennsylvania statute, a judge should look more favorably on a parent who’s willing to allow the other parent time with the child.  All other things being equal, the more one parent tries to prevent the other parent from seeing the child, the less likely a judge should decide in his/her favor.  The statute tries to force the parents to be more reasonable.  However, given how emotionally charged the issue of child custody can be, “reasonableness” can be a very rare commodity.