En Español
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or (TTY) 1-800-787-3224

Legal Statutes: Pennsylvania

UPDATED May 25, 2017

Pennsylvania Statutes

Print this page

Back to Pennsylvania overview

Subchapter A General Provisions

back to top5322. Definitions


(a) This chapter.--The following words and phrases when used in this chapter shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

“Abuse.” As defined in section 6102 (relating to definitions).

“Adult.” An individual 18 years of age or older.

“Agency.” Any organization, society, institution, court facility or other entity which provides for the care of a child. The term does not include a county children and youth social service agency.

“Child.” An unemancipated individual under 18 years of age.

“Legal custody.” The right to make major decisions on behalf of the child, including, but not limited to, medical, religious and educational decisions.

“Parental duties.” Includes meeting the physical, emotional and social needs of the child.

“Partial physical custody.” The right to assume physical custody of the child for less than a majority of the time.

“Physical custody.” The actual physical possession and control of a child.

“Primary physical custody.” The right to assume physical custody of the child for the majority of time.

“Relocation.” A change in a residence of the child which significantly impairs the ability of a nonrelocating party to exercise custodial rights.

“Shared legal custody.” The right of more than one individual to legal custody of the child.

“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.

“Sole legal custody.” The right of one individual to exclusive legal custody of the child.

“Sole physical custody.” The right of one individual to exclusive physical custody of the child.

“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.

(b) Other law.--In a statutory provision other than in this chapter, when the term “visitation” is used in reference to child custody, the term may be construed to mean:

(1) partial physical custody;

(2) shared physical custody; or

(3) supervised physical custody.
2010, Nov. 23, P.L. 1106, No. 112, § 2, effective in 60 days [Jan. 24, 2011].