When two Pennsylvania parents are ending their relationship, whether or not they are married, it can be difficult for them to come to a parenting agreement. While some eventually do so, others petition the court for help.
Either parent can petition the court if a parenting agreement cannot be made. When the court intervenes, it will make decisions based on what it believse is in the best interests of the child. Most judges believe that it is beneficial for the child to have both of their parents involved in the child's life, meaning that it is likely that both parents will spend time with their child. However, there is an exception in the case where the child is at risk for harm or if it has been shown that one of the parents cannot properly care for the child.
It is also likely that a parent will not be given sole custody if the other parent was already raising the child full time. However, the parent may seek joint custody as long as they can prove that they have played a significant and consistent role in the child's life.
Even if the parents already have a parenting plan and a visitation schedule in place, the circumstances can change. A parent may move for a new job or a parent's financial circumstances may change. In these cases, a family law attorney may petition the court to adjust the parenting plan or change the visitation schedule, especially if the child is getting older and has extracurricular or school activities that do not work with the current schedule.