Child Custody, Visitation & Relocation


The court modified a custody order to award primary physical custody to father. Although both parents provided adequate care, mother’s boyfriend had a criminal history and father engaged in more activities that were beneficial to the child.

The parties were the parents of a five-year old child. The court entered a custody order in September 2016, which gave both parties physical custody of the child on a rotating schedule. Father moved to modify, arguing that the parties had mutually agreed to a change in the custodial schedule which resulted in him actually having more time with the child. Mother filed a motion in which she claimed that the parties were unable to resolve issues relating to the child’s schooling, and she requested more time with the child on her days off from work.

The court evaluated the custody factors listed in 23 C.S.A. 5328(a). Both parents provided the child with a stable family life, and this case involved no issues of abuse. Mother had extended family available to help care for the child. Father had his father, his fiancé and the fiancé’s extended family to assist with child when necessary. Father had an older son who lived with him, and he testified to the child’s strong bond with his older half-brother. Mother also had another child, and she presented evidence that the child was close to his half-sister. While in father’s care, the child engaged in many outdoor activities with father’s family, which the court found was very beneficial to the child’s physical and developmental well-being.

The evidence indicated that both parties loved and provided proper care for the child, but the court found that mother was somewhat more nurturing. Although mother testified that father bad-mouthed her, the overall level of conflict between the parties was low. They had been able to cooperate in the past to facilitate transportation and communication.

Father had a history of two DUI charges, but both occurred before the child was born. At the time of the hearing, mother’s boyfriend was attending a clinic due to past drug use. Mother stated that she was not aware until the day of the hearing that her boyfriend has a past felony involving possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. In the past, mother had entrusted the child to the boyfriend’s sole care.

The court concluded that it was in the child’s best interest to be primarily in the custody of father. During the school year, father had custody from Monday through Friday morning, and mother had time with the child from Friday after school until Monday morning. The custody order reversed this schedule during the summer months, and the court order provided for alternated holidays.

REF: Digests of Recent Opinions, Pennsylvania Law Weekly, 43 PLW 906, Tuesday, October 6, 2020, Armanini v. Lubischer, PICS Case No. 20-0980 (C.P. Monroe Aug. 20, 2020)

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