I Know Child Custody Laws. You Know Your Child.
Children are impacted when families divorce. The potential for that impact to be negative increases significantly when parents cannot agree on custody.
I am attorney Susan J. Pearlstein, and I start every child custody case with the presumption that parents know what is best for their children. My philosophy is that if there is a way to reach an agreement and avoid litigation, you and your children will benefit. I encourage clients to reach agreements because the end result will almost always be less contentious and certainly, less costly.
I also know that not every custody case can be amicably resolved. If a custody case needs to go to trial, I am ready to aggressively represent you and your interests. If you need a child custody lawyer, call my law firm in Pittsburgh at 412-567-6143 to schedule a consultation.
Courts Look At What Is Best For The Child
The parent-child bond is a relationship that is well-protected in our legal system. Almost without exception, every parent has a right to see their child. When parents disagree about how and when they will exercise their custodial rights, these matters can quickly become the most difficult, emotionally devastating cases in the family law area.
When a court has to make a decision about child custody and visitation issues, it uses a set of legal factors called the best interests of the child.
When asking what custody arrangement is in the best interest of a particular child, the court will examine:
- The ability of each parent to meet the child’s daily physical, developmental, emotional and educational needs
- The strength of the relationship between each parent and the child
- The relationship a child has with his or her siblings and other relatives
- Each parent’s involvement with alcohol, drugs, criminal charges or other negative behaviors
- Whether one parent is more likely to build and maintain a loving relationship with the child
- Each parent’s ability to spend time caring for the child either directly or through arranging child care services
- How near or far the parents live to one another
- The ability of both parents to negotiate and peacefully resolve challenges together
- Which parent the child prefers to live with, which might not affect judgment in all cases
These factors, along with other relevant details, help a judge determine which parent or combination of parents is best able to care for the child. Judges are called on to make these decisions when the parents cannot reach custody and visitation agreements. The judge’s focus is always on the child’s best interests, not on the parent’s wishes.
I have been practicing law for more than 40 years, and I can help you with your child custody and visitation cases. As the solution is different for every client, I will work with you to figure out how to solve the unique challenges of your particular case, including how child support can impact your rights and responsibilities.
The Legal System Recognizes The Bond Between Grandparents And Their Grandchildren
Grandparents do not have the same rights as parents. Our legal system recognizes the custody and visitation rights of grandparents in limited circumstances. If a child’s parents decide they do not want their child to have a relationship with a grandparent, the law will almost always support the parents.
In cases where the parents do not live together and do not agree on whether the grandparents should see the child, grandparents may seek partial custody or visitation. If you want a court order guaranteeing your right to see your grandchildren, you will have to prove:
- The child’s parents are not presently married or living together
- The parents do not agree about whether the grandparents should see the child
- The request for partial custody or visitation will not interfere with the parent-child relationship
- The request to have partial custody or visitation with your grandchild is in the child’s best interest
If you are a grandparent wanting to establish partial custody or visitation with your grandchild, or a parent seeking to prevent the court from enacting an order giving your child’s grandparents specific rights, I can help.
In certain circumstances, grandparents also have the right to seek full custody of their grandchild. This can occur if the parents agree to give the grandparents custody, or if the parents are not fulfilling their obligations as custodial parents.
Discuss Child Custody With Me
*I practice law primarily in the areas of domestic relations and consumer debt. My law office is designated as a debt relief agency that helps people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.