Berman & Asbel, LLP

Possibilities abound for Pennsylvania child custody arrangements

Fear of losing access to one's children is often a factor that leads Pennsylvania spouses to avoid filing for divorce. Many worry that once one household becomes two, their ability to bond with and positively influence the lives of their children will be limited. However, in matters of child custody, it is important to remember that courts in Pennsylvania and across the country are becoming more amenable to signing off on child custody arrangements that are outside of the 'traditional' every-other-weekend model.

Parents today have a great deal of flexibility in determining how to divide parenting time and responsibilities. Each family can create a plan that works for them. As long as the best interests of the children are the central focus, family court judges are likely to support a plan that both parents find agreeable. When working toward such a determination, parents should take a good look at what each can provide for their child.

Perhaps one household is better suited to house the kids during school nights, and that parent is available and willing to cover all of the homework and school projects. The other might be a better fit to take over all of the summer plans, and can step in as back-up on school holidays. One option that has gained in popularity in recent years is called 'nesting,' in which the children always reside in one home and the parents alternate, coming and going when it is their time to reside with the kids.

Not every solution will work for every family, but spouses facing divorce should realize that there are endless possibilities for shared parenting structures. Although divorce can be a time of contention between Pennsylvania spouses, it is worth the effort to try and work together to determine a child custody arrangement that is acceptable to all parties. Doing so will not only pave the way for future collaborative parenting. It also provides an excellent example for kids of how to treat others with respect, as well as how to solve problems in a productive manner.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Custody And Its Different Components," Eyal Talassazan, Oct. 16, 2012

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