Child custody arrangements come in many forms, depending on parents’ schedules and other factors. The only factor the Court is concerned with is the best interest of the child. Rarely does one parent have sole custody. We understand the importance of protecting your relationship with your child. Our aggressive approach makes us well-equipped to do whatever it takes to get results that make sense for you and your child.

Physical Custody

When people think of child custody, they often think of physical custody. This is the aspect of custody that addresses who spends time with the child and how much time will be spent. There are countless arrangements and holiday schedules that can apply to each situation. Of course, these arrangements can always be agreed to by the parents without court intervention. Lopiano-Reilly Law Offices will help you put together a fair, legal and enforceable agreement.

Legal Custody

Legal custody is the aspect of custody that addresses decision making related to religion, medical care, education and extracurricular activities. Joint legal custody is most often the result. This means that both parents have a say in making decisions. In contentious situations, this authority may be split among the different areas of decision-making. For example, one parent may have the authority in religion and education, while the other has the authority in medical care and extracurricular activities. At Lopiano-Reilly Law Offices, we will help structure the correct legal custody arrangement for your child’s best interests.

Grandparent and Other Third-Party Rights to Custody

You want to be able spend time with your grandchild or the child you have helped raise. You want to protect them. You may fear losing contact. If you have had an active role in a child’s life, you may have rights you don’t know about. Grandparent custody and third-party custody is complex. In this area, we can determine what your rights as a grandparent or third-party may be and how to proceed legally to obtain custodial time.

At Lopiano-Reilly Law Offices, we care about children and families. We will advocate for your continued involvement whenever the law allows for it.

Father’s Rights

As a biological or adoptive father, you have a right to custodial time with your child. Don’t listen to the war stories of your friends and work associates. Fathers have a higher probability of obtaining custody of their children than they ever had in the past. Pennsylvania Courts do not start with the premise that a child belongs with his/her mother. Whether you have been the child’s primary caregiver, you have had minimal involvement in the child’s upbringing or you have had shared responsibilities with the mother, we can help you get custody rights. We will make sure that you understand the law as it relates to your case; that you fully understand your rights as a father; and, most importantly, we will work to make sure you get to spend time with your child.

At Lopiano-Reilly Law Offices, we understand that, absent unique circumstances, it is most often in a child’s best interests to have both parents actively involved in their children’s lives and we will aggressively advocate for you and your rights as a father.

Parent Relocation

Either party may face a change of circumstances that requires relocation into another county in Pennsylvania or another state. Depending on the reasons for the proposed move and specifically how the move will affect the best interests of the child, the court may grant a custody relocation petition. The law is very specific in how you must go about such a relocation or you could find yourself  in an unknowing violation of the custody law. If the other parent has made the decision to relocate after divorce, or wants to move further away with your child, you do have rights. Does the noncustodial parent want custody rather than let the child relocate? If the child has close ties to the area and if the noncustodial parent has demonstrated an active role in the child’s life, a change in custody may be preferable to relocation.

At Lopiano-Reilly Law Offices, we are experienced with helping clients seek a modification of custody or challenge the relocation of a child. We pursue aggressive, result-driven strategies to protect your rights and the best interest of your children in relocation modifications and disputes.

Custody Modification

As children grow older and as family circumstances change, you may have a reason to ask the court to modify the child custody order. No change should be made without the approval of the court.

If circumstances have changed, the court may need to reconsider and modify the custody order. Has a parent become physically or mentally ill? Is there proof of substance abuse? Is the custodial parent unfit? Is the other parent’s new spouse or significant other adding a new dynamic to the situation? What is best for the child?

At Lopiano-Reilly Law Offices, we encourage our custody clients to write everything down. Keep a custody diary or journal to help you remember events, organize your thoughts and concerns and give you prospective on your situation. You should preserve relevant voice mails, text messages, emails and social media or internet posts. Your diary and these items of evidence could also be useful in litigation.