Law Firm,

Child Custody 

If you and your spouse have minor children, all issues regarding child custody and child support will need to be resolved during your divorce matter. There are two forms of custody in Pennsylvania: Legal Custody and Physical Custody. 

Legal Custody governs decisions such as medical, schooling, and religious issues. Joint Legal Custody, where both parents have equal rights, is the most common form of legal custody in Washington County divorce cases. 

Physical Custody determines whom the children live with and for what period of time. Joint Physical Custody, where both parents share equal time with their minor children, is the "default" standard used in divorce matters. The Family Court's intention is to keep both parents actively involved in the upbringing of their minor children. 

There are however, certain situations where one parent may be awarded Primary Physical Custody. This means that they have the children living with them the majority of the time, and they are the primary caregiver for the day-to-day needs of the children. 

The most common reason for one parent having Primary Physical Custody is that you and your spouse agree to it. The second most common reason is logistical. In cases where you and your spouse will be (or are) living far away from each other, it is not possible to share equal time. One parent's work schedule or related travel can also make Joint Physical Custody impractical. 

There are also unfortunate situations where one parent may not be fit to share Joint Physical Custody. If one parent has domestic violence, drug, alcohol, criminal, or mental stability issues, they may not be fit to share equal time. 

The child custody arrangement has a direct effect on child support. 

The Impact on Your Children 

There are numerous ways to lessen the impact of divorce on your children. Regardless of the difficulties between you and your spouse, there are definitive rules that both parents should abide by. 


  • Put the welfare of your children above your differences.
  • Encourage your children to have a good relationship with your spouse.
  • Cooperate with your spouse as it pertains to visitation exchanges.
  • Answer your children's questions about what is going on, but limit their exposure to the details.
  • Explain that "mom and dad are going through a difficult time, but we both love you very much".
  • Badmouth your spouse in front of your children. In addition to having a negative impact, it almost always produces the opposite long-term result intended.
  • Tell your children that the divorce is your spouse's fault.
  • Use your children as a "bargaining chip" in divorce proceedings.
  • Subject your children to dangerous situations. If there are valid concerns about domestic violence, notify your divorce attorney immediately.
If you would like to speak with Amanda please contact the office at 724-258-8800 or by using the contact form.

Website Builder