The central issue in every custody case is "what is in the best interests of the child or children?" Answering this question is often more complex in today's world than one might initially think. Traditional families are becoming less common and in many circumstances, grandparents or third parties are raising children. Moreover, the Courts seem to be moving steadily towards shared legal and physical custody arrangements with increasing recognition of the role played in raising children by a grandparent or other third party.
At James K. Reed, P.A., we have been practicing custody law for more than 25 years in Pennsylvania and Maryland. We recognize and understand the unique custody issues that are important to every case. We approach each client's case individually, taking the time to learn about our clients and the needs of their children. Our firm strongly advocates mediation as the best alternative to resolving a custody dispute. It is only logical that parents, not the Courts, are in the best position to know what is in the best interests of their children.
Custody and visitation, based upon a change in circumstances, can be modified at any time. The courts recognize that circumstances do change for both parents and children given the passage of time. Children become more mature and independent with age, and often develop a preference for their own custody arrangement. Custody can be modified if circumstances change as a result of relocation, special needs, child preference, death or incarceration of a parent. Status quo is a very important issue when it comes to modification. As a result, modifications cases must be carefully considered before actual filing in court. Child preference is given more weight as the child gets older, matures, does well in school, and has a strongly articulated reason for their preference. Contrary to popular belief, there is no age that a child has the right to decide with whom they will live. On the other hand, the older a child becomes, their preference is given greater weight by the courts.
Our firm practices custody law in Pennsylvania in both Franklin and Fulton counties. We also represent custody clients in Maryland in Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett counties. We look forward to meeting with you to discuss your case.