Child Custody, Visitation, and Support in Pennsylvania by Rebecca DeSimone

By Rebecca DeSimone

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The first step in the Custody Conciliation process involves both parents attending a four-hour seminar entitled, “Children Cope with Divorce” or some similarly titled program. Generally, there is a small cost for the program and your attendance is mandatory if either of you are involved in a divorce or custody proceeding. 27 c h i l d c u s t o d y, v i s i t a t i o n a n d s u p p o r t i n p e n n s y l v a n i a Certain of the program’s objectives include: examining the experience of separation and divorce from the children’s perspective; exchanging certain skills, which parents may utilize to support the children’s adjustment to the separation; and, discussing the manner by which to avoid placing children in a no-win situation with parents.

Who is going to let the child speak with their ex-mother-in-law, for example? Who will not penalize the child for any adverse action on the part of the other parent? These are the questions the court will ask when considering the best interests of the child. Most courts believe that a child needs his or her extended family relationships, especially at a time when his or her parents are separating RELATIONSHIPS CHILD PREFERENCE MATERIAL The decision of the court may be reversed if it fails to hear the child’s preference.

His evidence must be very persuasive and “clear and convincing” to the Court. Raising paternity doubts is a support defense. However, openly admitting paternity and supporting the child can waive the defense. UNMARRIED COHABITANTS If the parents are unmarried, the child is the child of his or her mother. A father must assert his rights by establishing paternity as described at the beginning of the chapter. The Pennsylvania Statutes address paternity and the requirements to establish paternity as follows: Section 5103.

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