Saturday, March 14, 2015

Points to consider in your children custody case after a divorce (part 4)

NOTE: Pennsylvania law does not presume one parent is better than the other as a custodial parent and many county courts look to share physical custody, as close to 50/50%, as possible. While judges base child custody decisions on many variables, and the Pennsylvania law sets forth all the factors a court must consider in a child custody case, this series includes some of the more important factors Pennsylvania courts typically consider when making these decisions.  While there are no guarantees in child custody disputes, taking these actions may increase your chances of a favorable result.

This blog is part 4 and discusses two more points of the 10 points we plan to discuss and for you to consider when trying to position yourself to maximize your physical custody of your children.

7. Place the children’s needs above the custody fight.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at
Placing the child's needs first is a simple and easy way to show the court that you have the children’s best interest in mind.  While this seems simple in theory, divorcing couples often forget to consider the child’s needs and emotions over what actions might make the other parent’s life more difficult.

Showing a court you put the child ahead of the litigation or custody fight indicates to the judge that you are a good parent.  So, evaluate your position before you act.  Are you are acting merely out of anger or frustration with the other parent?  If so, step back and be sure your decision is in the child's best interest.

8. Don’t involve the children in the custody fight.

Avoid, at all costs, placing the child directly in the custody battle.  The less they know about the parent's custody disagreements, the better the job the parents are doing.

Yet, many parents are convinced that their young child has strong feelings about which parent they prefer, and actively involve them.  Many times it is the parent projecting their views of custody on the child.  Judges and lawyers often have both parties claiming that the child has indicated that the child wants to live with them.  Then when the child meets with a psychologist or in the judge’s chambers the parties often find they do have a preference, usually for split custody and a wish for their parents not to fight.  It can also set up an environment for the child to pit one parent against the other when it is most important to communicate and work together.

Therefore, avoid extensively discussing the custody situation with the child, and leave that to the counselors and doctors.  Children will often tell you what they think you want to hear, no matter how independent you may feel they are being. 

Finally, avoid using the child as a messenger.  No child should have to relay changes in custody or one parent's displeasure to the other parent.  If the other parent needs to be talked to about a custody issue, do it yourself, or through counsel.  Young children and even older children do not need to relay custody changes or address custody disputes. Work to keep communications open for the sake of the children.

Please keep in mind we are not trying to set you up to "win" a court case. This series is a set of factors for you to consider to position yourself in the best place for you to contribute to the stability, welfare, and well-being of your children.

If you want assistance, legal representation, or just want to know more about Douglas Wortman or Medvesky Law Office, LLC, check out our website at

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