March 31, 2016

Myths About Gender and Pennsylvania Child Custody

There was a point historically when mothers were favored as the primary custodians of minor children in divorce proceedings. In other words, these was a presumption that mothers are more fit or qualified to be the primary caretakers of children than were fathers. The reality is that in all jurisdictions in the United States, decisions regarding.

The Law and Judicial Practices in Pennsylvania Child Custody Cases

Although the law in Pennsylvania, and elsewhere in the United States, renders decisions regarding child custody gender neutral, a good many individuals still believe otherwise. Time and again, litigants come to Pennsylvania courts in divorce cases believing that mothers have an advantage over fathers in custody cases.

Courts not only work to follow the mandates of the law when it comes to child custody decisions and gender neutrality, judges generally work towards ensuring that the appearance of gender neutrality is also evident in a given case. In fact, if a court improperly made a decision regarding child custody utilizing gender as the underlying reason for the determination, that court order would be flawed and subject to revision or being overturned on appeal.

Standard in Pennsylvania Child Custody Cases

Pennsylvania courts utilized a gender neutral standard known as the best interests of the child standard when making custody decisions in divorce and paternity cases. The standard focuses on ensuring that a particular custodial arrangement is designed to advance and further the best interests of the child.

Considerations in Determining the Best Interests of the Child

A Pennsylvania court focuses on a number of factors when determining what is in the best interests of a child in a Pennsylvania child custody case. Gender is not on the list.

Factors on the list include which parent historically has been the primary caretaker of the child, the residential situation of the parents as well as the physical, mental and emotional health of the parties and the child. Custody decisions, based on an application of these factors, are made on a case by case basis.

Legal Representation

Although custody determinations are to be made without regard to gender, there are other issues in these types of cases that can prove complicated and challenging. A divorcing parent is best served to retain the services of a capable Pennsylvania divorce attorney.