Shemtob Draganosky Taylor Child Custody And Visitation

Montgomery County Child Custody Attorney

At Shemtob Draganosky Taylor Stein, PC, we recognize that no two cases are alike when it comes to child custody. As a result, we always utilize an individualized approach in these highly sensitive cases. Over the years, our firm has successfully handled hundreds of child custody cases, including those involving grandparents’ rights, third-party custody, and same-sex parents.

Contact us online or call (215) 544-3974 to discuss your child custody concerns with an experienced family law attorney. From our office in Blue Bell, we serve clients throughout the Main Line community, as well as throughout Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Philadelphia counties.

Understanding Pennsylvania Child Custody Laws and Best Interests

Pennsylvania child custody law requires that all child custody decisions must be in the best interest of the children. In most cases, this means some form of a joint custody arrangement between parents.

In general, custody rights are divided into legal custody and physical custody.

  • Legal custody: In divorce cases involving minor children, the court will frequently order that the parents have shared legal custody, meaning that both parents will be involved in major decisions regarding the children’s health, religion, education, and general welfare.
  • Physical custody: Physical custody addresses with whom the children will live. Even in shared physical custody arrangements, one parent may serve as the primary custodial parent. In some cases, the children will reside with one parent the majority of the time and spend defined periods of time with the other parent. In other cases, the parents may equally share physical custody of their children.

It is always our primary goal in any child custody case to achieve a result that is in the children’s best interest. If we cannot achieve this through negotiation or other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, we will zealously represent our clients in court.

Custody Determination Factors in Pennsylvania Courts

There is no minimum age in Pennsylvania law that requires a judge to consider a child's preference for custody. However, the court will consider the child's wishes whenever possible. The court will also consider the child's age, maturity, and understanding of the issues involved.

The court will also consider the child's relationship with each parent, the stability of each parent's home, and the child's wishes. The court will also consider the child's age, maturity, and understanding of the issues involved.

If the child is old enough to express a preference, the court will give weight to that preference. However, the court is not bound by the child's choice. Instead, the court will decide what it believes is in the child's best interests.

Guidance on Relocation with Children in Montgomery County

In our growing and transient society, issues of relocation are arising more and more frequently. Shemtob Draganosky Taylor Stein, PC advocates for the rights of parents seeking to relocate with their children, as well as parents opposing such a move. The parent wishing to move must follow specific procedures to request permission to relocate and, in the event of litigation, must show the court that the move is in the best interest of the children. There are a number of factors the court will consider when determining whether to grant relocation, and a knowledgeable attorney, such as those at Shemtob Draganosky Taylor Stein, PC, will be able to help you in navigating these waters.

If relocation is approved by the court, the existing child custody order or schedule will need to be modified. We can assist with child custody modifications, as well as with other post-divorce modifications.

Factors Influencing Parental Fitness in Child Custody Cases

To safeguard the best interests of the child, Montgomery County courts consider various factors when determining parent fitness. Factors that may contribute to a finding of parental unfitness include:

  1. Abuse or Neglect: Indicators of child abuse or neglect can substantially influence a parent's suitability. The court evaluates the safety and welfare of the child under the care of each parent.

  2. Substance Abuse: A parent struggling with substance abuse issues, including drug or alcohol addiction, may be deemed unfit if it poses a threat to the child's safety and stability.

  3. Mental Health Concerns: Serious mental health issues that hinder a parent's capacity to offer adequate care and a secure environment may result in a determination of unsuitability.

  4. Domestic Violence: Involvement in domestic violence situations, especially if the child is a witness or victim, can jeopardize a parent's fitness.

  5. Criminal Activity: Engaging in significant criminal activities or displaying a consistent pattern of criminal behavior may give rise to apprehensions regarding a parent's capacity to ensure a secure environment for the child.

  6. Failure to Provide Financial Support: Consistent failure to fulfill financial obligations, such as child support, can be considered when assessing parental fitness.

It's crucial to note that the court examines these factors comprehensively, and a determination of parental unfitness is based on the totality of the circumstances surrounding each case. Seeking legal guidance from an experienced Montgomery County child custody lawyer is highly recommended to navigate these complex matters effectively.

Secure Your Visitation Rights in Pennsylvania

To file for visitation rights in Pennsylvania, you can ask the clerk's office for an emergency custody complaint or petition. You can also file a custody petition in the county where the child has lived for six months. Visitation can be unsupervised or supervised.

You should speak with our custody lawyer if you need help filing for visitation rights in PA. Our child custody lawyer can help you understand the law and protect your legal rights.

At Shemtob Draganosky Taylor Stein, PC, we recognize every custody case stands on its own. Contact us online or call (215) 544-3974 to learn how we can help with your case.


What Drives Our Firm

Experienced. Strategic. Focused.
  • We Know the Law & Learn the Facts

    We learn your story and we live it. Our team prides themselves on listening and learning every fine detail. More importantly, we remember those details in court and at the negotiation table. When you put your case in our hands, we provide you with the personal attention and commitment you and your case deserve.

  • Information Powers Outcomes

    Our attorneys believe it is their duty to empower and educate people about their rights in divorce. Propelled by a responsibility to give back to the community, several divorce lawyers within the firm regularly speak and teach at civic groups and bar associations.

  • Reputable & Trusted Family Law Attorneys

    Named as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer each year since 2006, the firm’s founder, Lori K. Shemtob, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML)  — an esteemed honor held by only 74 family law lawyers in all of Pennsylvania. She served as AAML’s President of the Pennsylvania Chapter from July 2016 through July 2017.

  • From Big Firm to Boutique Firm

    Our story begins with a group of lawyers who came from big firms with a passion to create a better experience for our clients. Each lawyer's knowledge and experience contribute to innovative strategies in court and settlement negotiations. Our commitment to excellence takes our divorce and family law firm well beyond the ordinary.

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