True or False?
Today’s blog is a little different in that we are going to either confirm some facts or debunk some misconceptions regarding Child Custody that we inevitably hear at least a dozen times in a week here at Sommer & O’Donnell.
- The Mother always wins custody over Fathers. We hear this statement from 9 out of 10 dads who call or visit our offices. The answer? FALSE! First, in a custody case there truly are no “winners” or “losers.” With that being said, in Pennsylvania, the legislature has enacted a statute that Judges must examine sixteen (16) factors when ordering any form of custody. Absent from those factors? Any mention of a preference towards a mother or father! In fact, a court couldn’t care less about the mother or father – the court just cares that they order a form of custody that is in the best interest of the Child.
- My Child will get to decide with whom she wants to live. The answer? FALSE! C’mon, did your parents let you make life changing decisions when you were kid growing up? Yeah, neither did ours. Of course, your Child doesn’t get to make the decision with whom she gets to live. In fact, in Pennsylvania, the “well-reasoned preference of the child” is but one of the 16 factors a Judge looks at when ordering custody. The key phrase being “well-reasoned.” The decision on custody is never left solely in the hands of a Child and is not determinative when it comes to awarding custody to one parent or the other.
- If you don’t follow the Custody Order, I can call the cops! The answer? TRUE…but, it probably will not get you very far. The police generally do not get involved in custody disputes absent a safety issue with the children. If you are simply calling them to enforce the order, more times than not, they will tell you to call your attorney as it’s a civil matter. One caveat – in Pennsylvania the crimes code does provide for a criminal offense regarding interfering with the custody of a child – it’s rarely used by the police, but they could charge someone who is not following a custody order with it.
- I can move wherever I want with my child and you can’t do anything about it! The answer? FALSE! In Pennsylvania, you cannot relocate without the permission of the other parent (in writing) or the court’s approval, if it is going to substantially impair the non-relocating parties’ custody. What does this mean? Call us and find out!
- The attorneys at Sommer & O’Donnell are awesome to work with. The answer? TRUE! TRUE! TRUE! (Can you tell one of the attorneys wrote this?) But seriously, check out our reviews on Avvo.com and check out our website. You will find that working with the attorneys at Sommer & O’Donnell has worked for countless individuals facing a custody battle, why wouldn’t it work for you? Their experience and dedication to their clients are unparalleled and they will make sure your voice is not only heard, but listened to. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation.