A few months after my daughter was born, my ex started drinking again. I got out of there as soon as I could. My daughter is now three and she has been with me and her father every other weekend. I have taken her to every Dr appt, got her corrective glasses and paid for food, daycare and rent on my own. Her father still drinks but has a girlfriend living with him that has clearness to be around children and elderly. I do not drink and have not had a boyfriend since my ex. I went back to school and have worked at my job for two years now. The only problem that has arose is my daughter has started cussing. My ex is threatening to take her because of that one thing. I have always been working with my daughter and her cussing. She is about to start pre school this coming school year too.
In Pennsylvania, there are 16 different factors that a judge is required to consider in making a custody determination. I've posted a link to those factors below:
The relevant section you want to find is "5328: Factors to consider when awarding custody."
One thing you will notice in the Code is that it doesn't specify which of these factors carry more weight, or which are more important. That is because the judge has to consider ALL of them in making his or her determination. After a custody hearing, his opinion will list each factor with his finding on whether it weighs in your favor or the father's favor. At the end, he will determine what custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child.
Notwithstanding the fact that no factor is specified as being more important than others, in practice I would say you want to pay particular attention to Factor 1 ("which party is more likely to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and another party"). In my experience, this very often becomes the critical point in making a determination. It is important to continue encouraging your daughter to spend time with her father, have custody exchanges be pleasant, and keep her father informed about how she is doing.
Tara Hutchinson did a good thing for you by providing a link to the 16 or so factors that determine the best interests of the child.
As for the cussing issue, judges in my county are not crazy about children using profanity or any behavior deemed crude or vulgar. Which is not to say that you won't get the custody arrangement you're looking for. But you'll want to hire an attorney in your area.
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