Legal Definitions and Rules of Court

Two types of Custody: Legal Custody and Physical Custody


  1. Legal Custody

    is the right to make major decisions on behalf of the child, including, but not limited to, medical, religious and educational decisions. Legal Custody can be shared or can be solely with one person.
  2. Physical Custody

    is actual physical possession and control of a child.
There are different types of physical custody, which include:
a) Partial Physical Custody: The right to assume physical custody of the child for less than the majority of the time.
b) Primary Physical Custody: The right to assume physical custody of the child for the majority of the time.
c) Shared Physical Custody: The right of more than one individual to assume physical custody of the child, each having significant periods of physical custodial time with the child.
d) Sole Physical Custody: The right of one individual to exclusive physical custody of the child.
e) Supervised Physical Custody: Custodial time during which an agency or an adult designated by the court or agreed upon by the parties monitors the interaction between the child and the individual with those rights.
Further information about custody law can be found in the Pennsylvania statutes (Purdon’s) at 23 Pa.C.S.A. Sections 5321 to 5340.

Rules of Court


The Westmoreland County Local Rules of Civil Procedure and the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure are available at the law library located on the 2nd Floor of the Courthouse. The rules of court applicable to custody cases include Westmoreland County Rules of Civil Procedure 1915.3 through 1915.19 and Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure (Pa. R.C.P.) 1915.1 through 1915.25 and 1930.1 through 1940.9.