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Custody case holding - Court cannot use personal beliefs concerning parental communication in custody case

This 2010 Superior Court decision concerns the impropriety of personal beliefs concerning shared custody that were used by the trial court judge in awarding primary physical custody to mother. 

Under Pennsylvania law, one of the factors in awarding shared custody was that " a minimal degree of cooperation between the parents must be possible".

The trial court had opined that "unless parents are really able to work well together and talk to each other frequently and see each other at sporting events and be civil and cordial, if you can't do that, then 50/50 growing up during middle school and high school is not going to be pleasant".   

The Superior Court disagreed and pointed out that "a minimal degree of cooperation" does not require that there be an amicable relationship between the parties.  Specifically, the Superior Court "held" that, concerning custody of those school age children, the trial court may not rely on any presumption based on custom, practice or judicial norm.  

B.C.S. v. J.A.S. 994 A.2d 600 (Pa. Super 2010).