When parents are in the midst of determining child custody and visitation, it can be easy for them to forget that the best interests of the children must be at the forefront. Fortunately, the courts always will do so, although some parents may not feel as though they do.
There are four types of physical custody recognized in Pennsylvania. These are:
Primary physical custody is with the parent the child primarily lives with. Partial physical custody refers to the nights when the child is not with the primary custodian and with the other parent. Partial physical custody will always be less than 50 percent of the total custody time.
Visitation is when a parent has time with the child but is not allowed to remove the child from the custody of the primary custodian. This is often referred to as supervised visitation. Shared custody is when the parents share custody of the child so that there is frequent, regular contact with both parents.
As you can see, there are marked differences between these types of physical custody and it's easy to see why a parent would want one type over another. Some parents will wage legal battles to have primary physical custody when shared custody could work well. However, there may be underlying circumstances that would all but guarantee the court would rule against one parent.
For those seeking physical custody of their children, it's important to have an experienced family law attorney fighting to protect the rights of the parent and of the children.
Source: Pennsylvania Bar Association, "Child Custody" accessed Feb. 19, 2015