Child custody is usually the single most important issue for divorcing Pennsylvania parents. The possibility of losing child custody rights in a contentious court battle can be a major concern. Early on in a divorce, they may want to take some actions that could help to protect their rights.
The first thing that a parent can do in this regard is to remain in the family home and prevent the children from being taken out of the residence. If a parent moves out of the family home and allows the other parent to care for the children full-time, a judge is likely to award custody to the parent who stayed in the home in order to preserve continuity.
Parents who do have to move out of the family home should try to arrange a temporary time-sharing plan so that they do not inadvertently forfeit their child custody rights. A parent may also want to secure a court order that will restrict the other party from taking their children to another state. Once a divorcing parent moves out of state with their children, child custody cases become a lot more complicated.
An important step that people can take to defend their child custody rights is to get legal representation early on in the divorce process. A family law attorney will often have experience in obtaining a temporary child custody order while the divorce is still pending. A temporary order may set the precedent for the final order to be issued by the judge. One thing divorcing parents should never do is air their grievances in front of their children.