Pittsburgh Child Custody Lawyers

Protecting Your Parental Rights And Preserving Your Relationship With Your Children

When parents divorce or end a nonmarital relationship, their main concern often becomes how to maintain a strong relationship with their children. Child custody and visitation issues can become fiercely contested. It is important to have an attorney who understands Pennsylvania's child custody laws and who will advocate aggressively on your behalf.

The experienced Pittsburgh family law attorneys at McCarthy McDonald Schulberg & Joy are well aware of the importance that parents place on the continued relationship with their children. We protect that bond and work to put you in the best possible position to continue to nurture your relationship with your children following your custody matter.

It is our experience that both parents and children benefit when the parents reach agreement on a custody arrangement rather than put that decision in the hands of a family court judge who is not familiar with the unique dynamics of your family situation. We frequently have success helping our clients reach agreement on custody matters.

When an agreement cannot be reached, however, we are always prepared to advocate on your behalf in court.

Factors Involved In Custody Decisions

In any divorce involving minor children, the court is required to establish two types of custody:

Legal custody — Determining who has the right to make important decisions regarding a child's education, religion and medical treatment.

Physical custody — Determining how a child will divide his or her time between the two parents.

Pennsylvania child custody laws require the court to make custody and visitation decisions based on the "best interests of the child." In 2010, lawmakers clarified what that entails by identifying 16 factors that must be considered when awarding custody. Some of these factors include:

  • Which parent is more likely to permit and encourage continued contact with the other parent
  • The parental duties already being performed by each parent
  • The need for stability and continuity in the child's education, family life and community life
  • Which party is more likely to maintain a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship with the child adequate for the child's emotional needs

It is important to recognize that every custody situation is different and every outcome is specifically dependent upon that case's unique set of circumstances. There are no "normal" or "usual" custody arrangements. Given our extensive experience and thorough knowledge of the law, we are able to effectively advocate the position of every client.

Contact Our Experienced Child Custody Lawyers

Call 412-471-9900 or email us to schedule a consultation with an experienced Allegheny County visitation lawyer. We can review the facts of your custody case and provide a straightforward assessment.