Partial Custody Law and Legal Definition

Partial custody indicates one parent has lesser time with the child than the custodial parent. In Pennsylvania, 23 Pa.C.S. § 5302 defines partial custody as “The right to take possession of a child away from the custodial parent for a certain period of time” Generally while making an order for partial custody, the court shall consider the following:

  • The preference of the child as well as any other factors which legitimately impacts the child's physical, intellectual and emotional well-being.
  • Which parent is more likely to encourage, permit and allow frequent and continuing contact and physical access between the noncustodial parent and the child.
  • Each parent and adult household member's present and past violent or abusive conduct

If a parent has been convicted of or has pleaded guilty or no contest to any offenses like criminal homicide, kidnapping, rape, sexual assault, incest, indecent exposure, endangering welfare of children etc the court shall consider such criminal conduct and determine that the parent does not pose a threat of harm to the child before making an order partial custody to that parent. [23 Pa.C.S. § 5303]

Any parent who has obtained information of the charge filed against the other parent for an offense like aggravated l assault, stalking, terrorist attack, false imprisonment etc can move for a temporary custody order or to modify partial custody. The temporary custody or modification hearing shall be scheduled expeditiously. No court shall give partial custody to a parent who has been convicted of first degree murder. [23 Pa.C.S. § 5303]

While making a determination to award partial custody the court shall appoint a qualified professional to provide counseling to an offending parent. Following an order relating to partial custody the court may require subsequent periodic counseling and reports on the rehabilitation of the offending parent and the well-being of the child. If, upon review of a subsequent report, the court finds that the offending parent poses a threat of harm to the child, the court may schedule a hearing and modify the order of custody to protect the well-being of the child. [23 Pa.C.S. § 5303]