AMM Blog

Welcome to the AMM Law Blog, a tool to help you keep up to date on current legal developments over the broad spectrum of our practice areas.  We welcome your comments and suggestions to create a dynamic forum that will be of interest to readers and participants.

People are often surprised to find out from their domestic relations attorneys that there are two different types of custody that have to be addressed: physical custody and legal custody.

Physical custody is simply which parent the children are with at a given time.  This is generally addressed in a custody agreement or custody order based upon three time periods.  First, who has the children on a regular weekly basis.  This is for both days and nights.  Second, how much vacation time does each of the parents have with the children.  Third, who has the children on holidays.  The parents can decide which holidays are important for them to address, and usually not every holiday is considered.  Primary physical custody occurs when one parent has the child or children more than half of the overnights each year.  The other parent is then considered the partial physical custodian.  Even if there is a primary and partial physical custodian, this custodial arrangement is still considered a form of shared physical custody.  Equal physical custody occurs when the parents each have half of the overnights in a calendar year.

Legal custody relates to legal decisions that impact the children.  The major areas of legal custody are education, religion and healthcare decisions.  In the vast majority of custody cases, the parents will share legal custody and therefore make these decisions jointly.   Parents with younger children will have to make more legal custody decisions as compared to those with older children, for whom many of these determinations have already been made.

Custody schedules can be structured many different ways based upon what is in the best interest of the children, and what works for the parents.  Parents are highly encouraged by the court to work out custody schedules.  If they are not able to, the court will make a determination and issue a custody order.

Custody is often the most emotional aspect of a divorce or separation.   We strongly recommend that parents facing custody issues contact an attorney to be sure they understand the process, and their rights under the law. 

The initial divorce consultation is your first meeting with the attorney.   It occurs before you retain the attorney and can be utilized to determine if you and the attorney can work effectively together.  Sometimes this meeting occurs because you want to have the knowledge and information if you foresee potential divorce, support or custody issues in the future or are considering a prenuptial agreement.  Other times, there may be issues which require you to hire a family law attorney immediately.

Prior to the first meeting, our office will ask you to be aware of relevant topics and materials to ensure a productive meeiting.  At the first meeting you are asked to bring information related to your income, assets and liabilities.  If you do not have access to this information, the meeting can go forward without the information, as it can be acquired from the other party during the divorce process.  Expect to be asked questions related to these areas as that will allow the attorney to provide you with a better overview of the anticipated range for a resolution of your case, whether by agreement or court order.  The asssessment made at the initial consultation is based on the financial data provided, and may change as more specific information is made available.  It's a good idea to make a list of your questions in advance of the initial consultation, so that the meeting will be more productive, and you do not forget to ask about your concerns.

The purpose of the first meeting with a domestic relations attorney is to gain information and have your questions answered.  Over the course of an hour you will be provided with an overview of aspects of family law that may affect you: divorce, support (child support, spousal support, alimony pendente lite and alimony), custody and/or a prenuptial agreement.  You may be provided with the anticipated range of outcomes for your case based upon the information provided at the consultation.  Most importantly, you will have an opportunity to have your questions answered.  Having a general understanding of the process and answers to your questions is important at a stressful time like this.

While this is a difficult meeting for many clients, it is important to remember that the attorney is the one who is providing information and answering questions.  Family Law practitioners are well aware that clients are going through a very emotional process, and it the attorney's responsibility to put the client at ease, and help to navigate this unfamiliar and emotionally fraught territory as painlessly as possible.

Search Blog...

Blogger Bios

  • Alan Wandalowski Alan Wandalowski
    Alan concentrates his practice in Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Elder Law, Estate…
  • Bill MacMinn Bill MacMinn
    Bill concentrates his practice in the area of litigation, including Commercial Litigation,…
  • Donald B. Veix, Jr Donald B. Veix, Jr
    With over twenty-five years of experience, Don concentrates his practice in the…
  • Elizabeth J. Fineman Elizabeth J. Fineman
    Elizabeth Fineman concentrates her practice on domestic relations matters and handles a…
  • Jessica A. Pritchard Jessica A. Pritchard
    Jessica A. Pritchard, focuses her practice exclusively in the area of family…
  • Joanne Murray Joanne Murray
    Joanne concentrates her practice in the areas of Business Law, Business Transactions,…
  • John Trainer John Trainer
    John’s concentrates his legal practice in estate planning, estate administration and elder…
  • Michael Klimpl Michael Klimpl
    Michael’s practice areas include Real Estate, Municipal Law, Zoning and Land Use, Employment…
  • Michael W. Mills Michael W. Mills
    Mike is devoted to helping businesses build value and improve working capital,…
  • Patricia Collins Patricia Collins
    Patty has been practicing law since 1996 in the areas of Employment…
  • Susan M. Gibson Susan M. Gibson
    Susan’s practice focuses on Family Law and Litigation.  Susan has extensive experience…
  • Susan Maslow Susan Maslow
    Sue concentrates her practice primarily in general corporate transactional work and finance…
  • Thomas P. Donnelly Thomas P. Donnelly
    Tom’s practice focuses on commercial litigation and transactions. In litigation, Tom represents…
You are here:AMM Blog

Contact Us

info@ammlaw.com

215.230.7500 phone     215.230.7796 fax     855.210.7500 toll free

131 W. State Street, PO Box 50, Doylestown, PA 18901