Custody issues are rarely black and white. Pennsylvania courts want to take the time to get to know about your family dynamics and understand what your children need when making a decision. Rarely does the court wish to remove a parent from a child’s life or to severely limit parenting time for one parent. Most often, the goal is to come up with a plan that allows equal and fair time for both parents with the children because this allows for the best parent-child relationships.
However, this is not always possible. That is why the law offers seven different types of child custody arrangements, according to the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Each has slightly different impacts on the overall legal responsibilities of each parent.
1. Sole physical custody
Physical custody is when you physically have time with your child. If you have sole physical custody, then you have complete physical custody of the child.
2. Partial physical custody
Partial physical custody would be a situation in which the child lives with one parent and has visitation time with the other parent. In this situation, if you have partial physical custody, then you would have your child with you physically for less time than the other parent.
3. Primary physical custody
Primary physical custody would be the parent within whom the child lives. The other parent would then have partial physical custody.
4. Shared physical custody
If you have shared physical custody, then you would have equal or almost equal time with your child as the other parent.
5. Sole legal custody
Legal custody of any type is the decision-making power a parent has for the child. If you have sole legal custody, then you have the right to make all decisions for your child on all issues without having to consult the other parent.
6. Shared legal custody
Shared legal custody is when you and the other parent share equal rights to make decisions for your children.
7. Supervised physical custody
Supervised physical custody is an order by the court that you cannot be alone with your child. You would have to conduct any visits with an approved monitor watching your interactions.