Fathers in Pennsylvania who are getting a divorce might be concerned about custody and visitation. While there is a common myth that divorced fathers do not want to spend time with their children, this is far from the truth for many. They might want to consider options including sole or shared custody before negotiations begin.
It is important that children are at the center of this decision. When courts take a look at custody arrangements, the best interests of the child are the main concern, although parents’ work schedules must also be taken into consideration.
Fathers will also need to work with the other parent on a parenting plan. This is an important document that should be both thorough and flexible so that parents do not have to return to court to make changes. Things parents may want to think about is how they will communicate with one another about the child, how they will handle holidays and special occasions, and whether they might need to change the plan in some way if one of them remarries. The parenting plan must be flexible enough to also allow for changes in the children’s lives and needs as they get older.
Parents who are unable to negotiate child custody and for whom mediation is not suitable will likely need to turn to litigation. In court, a judge will take a number of elements into account to decide what arrangement is in the best interests of the child after a divorce. This may include considering which situation will provide the child with the most stability, the child’s relationship to others in the home and who has been the child’s primary caregiver. Parents may want to demonstrate their involvement in the child’s life by showing that they attend the child’s extracurricular activities, take the child to medical appointments and are involved in the child’s school.