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Co-parenting in Pennsylvania: Joint Custody Tips for Divorced Parents

Custody Laws in Pennsylvania

Under the Pennsylvania Divorce Code, divorcing parents must decide on a legal custody arrangement for the child. This decision determines who will make decisions about the child's health, education, and welfare. The Pennsylvania Divorce Code states that the court must make such a custody arrangement in consideration with the best interests of the child (23 Pa. C.S.A. § 5328). The court may grant sole legal or physical custody to one parent, or both parents can be granted joint legal and physical custody. The law also allows grandparents and other adults, such as stepparents, to have custody rights in some cases. In most cases, the court will award primary physical custody to one parent and unsupervised visitation to the other parent.


Child Support Guidelines in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines provide services and guidelines for determining appropriate levels of financial support for a child. According to the Pennsylvania Divorce Code, when making an initial decision or revising a child support order, the court must consider the child support guidelines (23 Pa. C.S.A. § 4325).The guidelines take the income of both parents into consideration, and the court must review the calculation carefully to ensure that the support is fair and appropriate.


Co-Parenting Expenses in Pennsylvania

Parents can decide how to manage their child’s expenses. Under the Pennsylvania Divorce Code, parents must come to an agreement on who pays for educational expenses, medical expenses, and other related costs (23 Pa. C.S.A. § 4315). Generally, the court prefers that parents agree on how to manage these expenses instead of relying on them to provide help. The court can also award reimbursement for certain expenses made by the custodial parent.


Parental Rights and Responsibilities under Pennsylvania Law

The Pennsylvania Divorce Code recognizes that it is in the best interests of the child to have both parents actively involved. The code states that both parents have the same rights and responsibilities with respect to the child’s health, education, and welfare (23 Pa. C.S.A. § 5339). However, the law also recognizes that co-parenting may not be possible in some cases. In such cases, the court may award sole legal or physical custody to one parent, or grant supervised visitation to the other.



Under Pennsylvania law, parents must share joint decision-making authority and responsibility for their child’s health, education, and welfare (23 Pa. C.S.A. § 5328). This means that both parents must agree on major decisions, and neither can overrule the other. If the parents cannot agree, the court may have to make a decision.


Parenting Plan

The Pennsylvania Divorce Code encourages parents to develop a parenting plan (23 Pa. C.S.A. § 5334). The plan should set forth the parental rights and responsibilities of each parent, visitation schedules, and custody arrangements. The parenting plan should be based on the best interests of the child, and must be approved by the court before it can take effect.


Visitation Rights

The Pennsylvania Divorce Code recognizes both parents’ rights to visitation with the child. The law also states that the court must make visitation arrangements in the best interests of the child (23 Pa. C.S.A. § 5305). Visitation schedules must be specific and detailed, and parents should have access to the visitation agreement. In some cases, such as when one parent poses a danger to the child, the court may limit or restrict visitation rights.



The Pennsylvania Divorce Code encourages parents to use mediation to resolve disputes about co-parenting (23 Pa. C.S.A. § 5335). Mediation is a process in which the parents sit down with a trained mediator to settle disputes. The mediator is a neutral third party who helps the parents reach a solution that is in the best interests of the child. The agreement reached through mediation is usually not legally binding, but it can be a useful tool for resolving conflicts.



Co-parenting after a divorce or legal separation can be difficult, but Pennsylvania law provides rules and guidelines to make the process smoother. It is important to understand the laws surrounding custody, child support, and co-parenting expenses. Additionally, parents must understand their parental rights and responsibilities, and the importance of creating a parenting plan. Parents should also be familiar with the laws governing visitation rights, co-parenting expenses, and consider using mediation to resolve conflicts. By understanding these rules, separated parents can make sure that their co-parenting arrangement is as successful and effective as possible.


Fact Check and Sources

In writing this post, we conducted thorough fact-checking and research, consulting the following sources:


Co-parenting in USA


Co-parenting in Canada


Warning:  This post is neither financial, health, legal, or personal advice nor a substitute for the advice offered by a professional. These are serious matters, and the help of a professional is recommended as it can impact your future.

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