I'm sorry to hear your son is going through this; family law cases are very emotional.
In custody cases, the court will consider 16 factors that are listed in the statute.
I have included the relevant statutes below.
Basically, #2 of the 16 factors in statute 5328 allow the judge to consider domestic violence issues; code 5323 states that if there is a risk of harm to the child, safety measures need to be incorporated into the order.
So since the judge has discretion in these matters, it is difficult to make a prediction, as each judge has different standards. But generally the court's main concern will be whether the child will be a victim of violence, or whether the child will witness it. So the court will consider any rehabilitative measures taken by the parent, such as counseling, or other forms of therapy. Additionally, if the court is concerned, they can order supervised visitation until the party satisfactorily completes a condition placed on the custody order, before resuming unsupervised visitation. As the child spends increased time with the parent, it can result in a 50/50 custody order, especially if there is no further criminal proceedings. Some states will bar custody if there is a domestic violence conviction but Pennsylvania is not one of them.
5328. Factors to consider when awarding custody.
(a) Factors.--In ordering any form of custody, the court shall determine the best interest of the child by considering all relevant factors, giving weighted consideration to those factors which affect the safety of the child, including the following:
(1) Which party is more likely to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and another party.
(2) The present and past abuse committed by a party or member of the party's household, whether there is a continued risk of harm to the child or an abused party and which party can better provide adequate physical safeguards and supervision of the child.
(2.1) The information set forth in section 5329.1(a) (relating to consideration of child abuse and involvement with protective services).
(3) The parental duties performed by each party on behalf of the child.
(4) The need for stability and continuity in the child's education, family life and community life.
(5) The availability of extended family.
(6) The child's sibling relationships.
(7) The well-reasoned preference of the child, based on the child's maturity and judgment.
(8) The attempts of a parent to turn the child against the other parent, except in cases of domestic violence where reasonable safety measures are necessary to protect the child from harm.
(9) Which party is more likely to maintain a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship with the child adequate for the child's emotional needs.
(10) Which party is more likely to attend to the daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational and special needs of the child.
(11) The proximity of the residences of the parties.
(12) Each party's availability to care for the child or ability to make appropriate child-care arrangements.
(13) The level of conflict between the parties and the willingness and ability of the parties to cooperate with one another. A party's effort to protect a child from abuse by another party is not evidence of unwillingness or inability to cooperate with that party.
(14) The history of drug or alcohol abuse of a party or member of a party's household.
(15) The mental and physical condition of a party or member of a party's household.
(16) Any other relevant factor.
5323(e) Safety conditions.--After considering the factors under section 5328(a)(2), if the court finds that there is an ongoing risk of harm to the child or an abused party and awards any form of custody to a party who committed the abuse or who has a household member who committed the abuse, the court shall include in the custody order safety conditions designed to protect the child or the abused party.
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Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.