Protection Of Your Parent-Child Relationship In A Custody Case
Some parents who divorce or separate can put their children first and decide how to share parenting responsibilities. Many, however, find this exceedingly difficult to accomplish without legal help. A child custody dispute is one of the most difficult family law issues for people to resolve, perhaps because of parents’ natural inclination to want to care for their own children, regardless of circumstances.
If you are facing a divorce or the determination of custody of a child when you and the other parent are not married to each other, you can and should seek direction from an experienced family law attorney. I am John D. Sisto, a lawyer in Altoona with almost 30 years of law practice experience in this community.
How Child Custody May Be Decided
If you and the other parent do not agree on a parenting plan, the family law court may do so for you, based on any relevant combination of the following factors:
- The best interest of the child
- Which parent is more likely to encourage continuing contact with the other parent
- Any history of abuse by either parent
- The parenting involvement of each parent
- A child’s need for stability in education, family life and community life
- Extended family and sibling relationships
- The child’s well-reasoned stated preference if they are mature enough to express it
- Parental alienation by either parent against the other
- Evidence of whether each parent is likely to nurture a child’s emotional, developmental and educational needs
- Parents’ availability to care for the child and/or make appropriate child care arrangements as needed
- The proximity of the parents’ homes
- The parents’ willingness to cooperate in the raising of the children
- Any history of drug or alcohol abuse by either parent or members of their households
- The mental and physical health of each parent
In some cases, a grandparent, great-grandparent or another relative may seek custody of a child, based on circumstances regarding one or both parents who may be unfit or unavailable.
I can advise you of ways to gather evidence to prove that one or more of these factors favors you as the custodial parent. Or, if you will be the noncustodial parent, I will help you pursue a parenting time arrangement (visitation) that will allow you to preserve your parent-child bond.
Ask For Information And Advice About Parenting Time
You deserve all the help you need to ensure that you have ample time with your child despite a divorce, separation or a family situation involving unmarried parents.