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Trusted Lawyer in

South Jersey & Philadelphia

Photo of David T. Garnes

Trusted Lawyer in

South Jersey & Philadelphia

A Dedicated Child Custody Attorney Protecting Your Parental Rights

When couples welcome children into their families, their entire lives change. They become completely dedicated to providing for the child’s needs. They want to ensure they remain a part of that child’s life forever. If the relationship or marriage ends, the parents may struggle to find a custody agreement that allows each parent to continue to be involved in the child’s life.

At the Law Offices of David T. Garnes, LLC, we understand the difficulties facing parents involved in child custody disputes. Our founding attorney, David T. Garnes, has helped many families through the custody and visitation process. David is licensed in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania and has more than 20 years of experience handling child custody cases. He is confident that he will be able to provide you with the crucial guidance and representation that you need at this time.

For a free consultation with an experienced child custody lawyer, please call our law office in Cherry Hill at 856-324-4593, or call our Philadelphia law office at 267-838-9713. You can also reach us by completing our contact form.

What Is The Difference Between Physical And Legal Custody?

While there are similarities between Pennsylvania and New Jersey regarding types of child custody, there are also some crucial differences.

Understanding The New Jersey Guidelines

In New Jersey, physical custody refers to the amount of time a child spends with each parent, and joint physical custody is favored. Legal custody, on the other hand, refers to a parent’s right to make important decisions on behalf of their child and joint legal custody is highly encouraged. In cases where one parent has sole legal custody, the other parent may still have visitation rights. Ultimately, the court’s primary consideration in custody cases is the best interests of the child and the court will evaluate each case’s unique circumstances.

How The Pennsylvania Guidelines Are Different

However, in Pennsylvania, physical custody also refers to the amount of time a child spends with each parent, but the court may award primary physical custody to one parent over the other. Legal custody gives a parent the right to make important decisions on behalf of their child. Joint legal custody may be awarded to both parents. Still, the court may also award sole legal custody to one parent if it determines that it is in the best interests of the child. In cases where the court awards one parent sole legal custody, the other parent may still have visitation rights. As with New Jersey, Pennsylvania courts evaluate the unique circumstances of each custody case.

What Factors Does The Court Look At In Determining Custody?

The factors that courts consider when determining child custody and the best interest of the child can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case. However, here are some common factors that courts often consider:

  • Demographics: Courts will look at the child’s age, sex and developmental stage.
  • Ability and capability: The court will look at each parent’s physical and mental health and their ability to provide for the child’s physical, emotional and educational needs.
  • Relationship: The child’s relationship with each parent, including the emotional ties between the child and each parent, is another important factor.
  • Stability: Children need their environment to have a sense of reliability. Courts will consider the stability and continuity of the child’s current living arrangements.
  • The child’s preference: Courts will consider a child’s preference if they are old enough to express their preference and their preference is relevant.
  • Parent’s ability to foster positive relationships: When possible, a child needs to have a relationship with both parents. Courts will consider which parent is more capable of promoting a positive relationship with the child and their other parent.
  • Cooperation: Courts will look at whether parents will be able to work together.
  • Abuse: Courts will consider any history of domestic violence, abuse or neglect that involves either parent.
  • Availability: One parent’s schedule is sometimes more conducive to being the primary caregiver.
  • Home and community: Part of raising a child is the community around them. Courts will consider the living arrangements, proximity to school and other community elements when determining custody.

The weight given to each factor may vary depending on the specific facts of the case and the judge’s discretion.

Child custody is often one of the most contentious aspects of divorce and family law.

Maximizing The Time You Spend With Your Children

There is often a great deal of emotion during a divorce and the custody case that follows, and parents can find themselves constantly disagreeing over every single issue. It is important that you remember that the courts will base their decisions on the best interests of the children. Our child custody lawyer will review these factors with you, and prepare a case that demonstrates why you should receive a ruling in your favor.

When examining your case, it may be necessary for us to involve experts who will perform an analysis of the situation. These experts can provide opinions to the court about the role of each parent in the child’s life. Our law firm has a number of experts who we can rely upon when we need to present this type of testimony in custody cases.

In some situations, there may be major events that require the custody order to be revisited. We assist parents with the modifications of custody orders, including those involving relocation requests. We also help resolve custody questions concerning a grandparent’s child custody rights.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation About Child Custody

To schedule a free consultation with our experienced child custody attorney, please call our Cherry Hill office at 856-324-4593, or call our Philadelphia office at 267-838-9713. You can also send us an email. We are able to meet at a time and place that is convenient for you. We also offer flexible payment plans. Se habla español.