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Preparing for a child custody battle

Pennsylvania parents who are ending their marriages and who want custody of their children might want to first try to compromise with each other. Court custody battles can be lengthy, expensive and stressful. If parents can avoidthem by agreeing to joint custody or finding another solution, they may be more satisfied with the outcome. However, if this is not possible, there are things a parent can do to prepare for a fight over custody.

The parent may want to work with an attorney and learn as much as possible about child custody laws. A judge will make a determination based on the best interests of the child although both parents might not agree about what they are.

Parents may want to bring documents to support their side. A court will also look at elements that may seem superficial to the parents such as how they dress for court and what their demeanor is like. Showing the ability and willingness to compromise with the other parent may also count in their favor. However, even if parents are not awarded primary physical custody, they may get a lot of visitation time with their child.

The parent who is not awarded primary custody might be required to pay child support to the other parent. This is usually determined based on a formula that takes income and costs such as the child's medical care into account. Parents may also want to make an agreement about how they will handle other expenses that are not covered by child support. For example, one parent may agree to cover the costs of an extracurricular sport that the child plays.

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