Here are five places you can turn to get help creating a child custody and visitation agreement in Pennsylvania.
Your lawyer or a legal aid representative. This one’s obvious, but if you have a lawyer (whether paid or volunteer) that should be the first person you turn to for guidance on creating your parenting agreement. If you need help finding legal assistance, see How to Find a Child Custody Lawyer in Pennsylvania.
Mediation. A skilled child custody mediator can help with everything from living arrangements and visitation schedules to decision-making responsibilities and financial agreements. A mediator’s job is to help you explore all the options and settle on the solutions that work best for all involved, especially the kids. Here are several ways to find a qualified mediator:
- Ask people you know for referrals, especially lawyers, therapists, or friends who’ve been down this road before you.
- Contact PALawHelp.
- Investigate referral services, such as www.mediate.com or www.divorcenet.com
- Check out national mediation or family law organizations, like the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts and the American Arbitration Association.
- Connect with your local court (see just below).
Your local court. While we recommend doing all you can to resolve custody issues without a court fight, even those who are committed to peaceful negotiation may find helpful resources at the your local family court. Many courts have online resources or self-help centers offering materials to help put together a parenting plan.
To find your local family court, see the York County family law court page.
Does Pennsylvania Offer a Free Parenting Plan Template?
All states but six have put together templates or guidelines you can use to draft your parenting agreement.
Does Pennsylvania offer parenting plan resources? YES
As you get ready to make your parenting plan, be sure to review the parenting agreement resources offered by Pennsylvania.
Online resources. There are many respectable internet sources to help you with custody plans. For example, you’ll find a lot of great information under Resources for Families on the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts’ website. In particular, look for for “Parenting Plan Information.” You may also want to investigate online software for creating a parenting plan, such as the program offered by Custody X Change.
In addition, the Alaska state court’s self-help resources for making a parenting plan are helpful for folks in any state. And here are free parenting plans from more than a dozen states to help you explore different options.
Books. If you still like the substantial support of a good book, here are three good ones:
- Nolo’s Essential Guide to Child Custody & Support, by Emily Doskow (Nolo)
- Building a Parenting Agreement That Works: Child Custody Agreements Step by Step, by Mimi L. Zimmerman (Nolo)
- Two Homes, One Childhood: A Parenting Plan to Last a Lifetime, by Robert E. Emery, Ph.D (Avery)
If books aren’t in your budget, you may be able to find these at your local public library.