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Pennsylvania Family Law

Pennsylvania Family Law


Guide to Pennsylvania Family Law


Family courts in Pennsylvania are unlike civil and criminal courts.  These courts consider cases pertaining to families and children, and make determinations based on PA family law.  If you are involved in a Pennsylvania family law case, understanding the law can make it easier for you to explore your legal options.  This guide will teach you about some of the basic areas of PA family law.  If you want more in-depth information about Pennsylvania family law, you may want to look at other pages on this website or contact a family law attorney in Pennsylvania.




Couples who are adopting a child will generally need to hire an attorney with experience in PA family law generally and adoption law specifically.  Pennsylvania family law allows both domestic and international adoptions.  People who are becoming adoptive parents may choose to adopt from an agency or privately according to PA family law.  You may also want to adopt from the foster care system.


Adoptions are handled by the courts to ensure that the best interest of the child is served.  Pennsylvania family law requires that a judge sign off on all adoptions, no matter how they are initiated.


Child Custody


If you are seeking child custody, understanding PA family law is critical.  Most attorneys who specialize in Pennsylvania family law can assist with a child custody case.  Depending on what you want out of your custody hearing, you may be able to obtain legal custody (which allows you to make basic decisions for your child) and physical custody (which allows your child to reside with you).  PA family law includes many factors for judges to take into account when making custody decisions.


If you want to get custody of your child, talking to an attorney who is well versed in Pennsylvania family law can help you understand the custody hearing process and how to sway the judge toward your ideal resolution.  Because PA family law allows judges to look at so many factors, understanding the factors that are most relevant in your case can make it substantially easier to get the custody decision you are hoping for.




In cases where parents are not married at the time of a child's birth, paternity will need to be established in court according to Pennsylvania family law before the father will have parental responsibilities.  PA family law will require a father to pay child support for any child born in or out of wedlock, and in order to establish paternity, a mother may have to order a paternity test.


In some cases, fathers may also want the court to require a paternity test.  In some cases, Pennsylvania law will still require a man to continue paying child support even if a paternity test proves that he is not the father of a child.  Typically, this will happen if the parents were married and the father accepted the child as his own.  Because Pennsylvania family law seeks to uphold the best interest of the child, this man may still need to pay child support if the parents’ divorce.