In Philadelphia, parents may file for one of two forms of child custody, namely, legal and physical. While physical custody gives a parent the right to spend time with their child, legal custody entitles them to make independent decisions about their children's lives. This seems straightforward, but the determinations courts use to decide whether or not to award specific forms of custody are not always as clear-cut.
When a Pennsylvania court is handling a child custody portion of a divorce proceeding, the primary consideration is the best interests of the child. The court weighs factors that affect the safety of the child, whether the child would require relocation and the child's school situation, among other considerations. In addition to interviewing the child's parents, the court may also speak with the child or a representative of the child to glean information regarding custody and visitation rights.