An important factor is which parent has a history of supporting the other parent’s relationship with the child.
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What Other Factors Will the Judge Consider?
Relationship with the Child(ren)
An important factor is which parent has a history of supporting the other parent’s relationship with the child. A parent who is likely to try to influence a child against the other parent is unlikely to win favor with the court, while a parent who actively supports the child’s contact with the other parent has an advantage in a custody dispute. The only time this factor becomes irrelevant is where there’s been abuse—a parent won’t be penalized for failing to cooperate or facilitate the child’s relationship with the other parent.
Abuse & Mental Health
If one parent has been abusive to the child or to another family member, the judge will evaluate the likelihood of continuing abuse and will make an order consistent with which parent will provide the safest environment for the child. The same goes for any history of drug or alcohol abuse.
Judges may take into account the physical and mental health of household members.
Do Courts Favor the Mother vs. Father?
Pennsylvania law prohibits courts from making custody decisions solely on the basis of gender.