There is no formula set in stone when it comes to determining child custody. Instead, the court reviews each case based on its unique circumstances and decides what is best for that family.
A judge will consider a wide variety of things to determine child custody, but a few are at the front. The following factors are at the top of the list. In addition, a judge will likely consider other factors based on every family’s unique situation. That means that each will weigh differently in every case.
1. Best interest of a child
The Pennsylvania General Assembly guarantees that they will always decide based on a child’s best interest. That means this factor is the overarching consideration the court considers when looking at other factors. For instance, they weigh different factors in determining if it is in the child’s best interest for one parent not to have contact if they are abusive, get visitation rights, or have joint custody to keep both parents involved. But, overall, the child’s best interest is always a consideration.
2. Parental involvement
The court will also consider how involved parents are in their child’s life. If both parents are equally engaged, the court will want to maintain that division. However, if one parent handled every aspect of raising their child, the court might consider sole custody.
The court does not prioritize any of these factors over the other. However, it will always work toward the best interest of the child. That said, the court will not only look at one factor. Instead, it will consider as much evidence as possible and look at the big picture before making a decision.