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When can a Pennsylvania parent obtain sole custody?

On Behalf of | Nov 27, 2023 | Family Law |

Many adults dislike the idea of shared custody arrangements. They usually resent the idea that they can only spend a portion of their week with their children and that they must give up control over what happens with their children while they are with the other parent.

Many Pennsylvania adults would prefer to retain sole custody to eliminate the stresses associated with shared parenting arrangements. When is it feasible for one parent in Pennsylvania to request sole custody?

When the other parent agrees

Sometimes, one adult in the family has served as the primary caregiver for the children their entire lives. In such scenarios, parents may recognize that one of them has the skills and bond necessary to meet the children’s needs. One parent can agree to allow the other to assume sole custody. They can then present that to the courts for approval instead of litigating.

When one parent can’t meet the children’s needs

The other scenario in which a parent in Pennsylvania could obtain sole custody involves an unstable family situation. The parent seeking sole custody will typically need some kind of evidence showing that the other parent is unsafe or unstable. Police reports showing a history of domestic violence might help. Medical evidence of addiction and even testimony from therapists could help someone develop a claim to sole custody because the other parent cannot safely and consistently meet the needs of the children.

A judge would generally need to agree that the children would not receive proper support from the other parents and may be in harm’s way in a shared custody arrangement to award one parent sole custody over the protests of the other adult.

Understanding when the courts may grant one parent sole custody can help people set and accomplish realistic goals for Pennsylvania family law issues.