Lawyers Who Can Answer Your Questions About Custody
Custody matters are often the most worrisome and frustrating aspects in divorce and separation matters. At Tanner Law Offices, LLC, in Camp Hill, our lawyers have been helping people through custody disputes and modifications in Dauphin County, Cumberland County and York County, Pennsylvania, for many years. We are frequently asked questions from parents (and grandparents) about how our state custody laws affect their parenting rights.
Child Custody FAQ
Below are a handful of the most frequently asked questions we hear everyday. Every custody matter is unique, so contact one of our lawyers to discuss the specifics of your case. Call us at 717-836-0471 or reach out to us by email with some details of your circumstances.
Q. Will the mother be given more rights in custody matters than the father?
A. That’s a common misconception. Under Pennsylvania law mothers and fathers share equal parenting rights and parenting responsibilities. Either parent may seek sole custody, primary physical custody or shared physical custody, and the courts will enter an Order that is in the child’s best interest, even if that means that the father has more physical time with the child than the mother.
Q. Is custody permanent?
A. The courts recognize that things change in parents’ lives and that children grow up, creating a change in circumstances. What may have been the right decision regarding physical custody in the past, may not be the right decision for the child today. The legal system provides avenues for modifying custody orders and visitation rights.
Q. Can grandparents or extended family members get custody?
A. Yes, under certain circumstances, grandparents and other extended relatives can be granted temporary or permanent legal or physical custody of the child. .
Q. Can a teenage change the custody order, to go live with the other parent?
A. Up until children are 18, they are minors and cannot assign themselves under the custody of the noncustodial parent.
Q. Can my ex and I make an informal change to visitation?
A. Yes. You do not need to have a court Order regarding custody. However, when there is a dispute about the custody schedule or a legal custody matter, without a court Order to refer to, it can cause a lot of stress for both the parties and the minor child. If the parties are in agreement as to the initial custody agreement or a modification to it, it is possible to enter into a formal “stipulation” that can then be entered as an Order without ever having to enter the courthouse. We recommend having an Order, either by stipulation or court involvement to prevent problems in the future.
Q. My new husband wants to adopt my child. Is that possible?
A. Yes. In order for a step-parent to adopt the child, the biological parent’s rights will need to be terminated. This can be done by the biological parent voluntarily executing the necessary documentation to terminate his or her parental rights to the child, or it can be done involuntarily by a Petition to the court to involuntarily terminate the biological parent’s parental rights. Once the biological parent’s rights are terminated, and the 30 day appeal period has run, the step-parent may adopt the child