No. There’s a common misconception that children can choose which parent to live with when they turn 12. That is not the case. However, under Pennsylvania’s Custody Factors, one of the factors that a court must consider when making a custody determination is “the well-reasoned preference of the child, based on the child’s maturity and judgment.” It is up to the court as to how much weight to give this factor, and it is not necessarily the “deciding factor.”
Common law marriage was abolished in Pennsylvania as of January 2, 2005. That means that no new common law marriages can be entered into as of that date. However, Pennsylvania still recognizes common law marriages that were entered into before January 2, 2005. It is important to note that there is no specific length of time that you have to live together to establish a common law marriage. To establish a common law marriage, there must have been an exchange of words in the present tense expressing an intent to be married (“You are my husband/wife/spouse.”), and it must have occurred on or before January 1, 2005.
No. At this time, while Pennsylvania law allows a single person to adopt a child, it does not allow a person who already has a child with someone else to legally make themselves a single parent. If you wish to terminate the parental rights of the other party, there must be someone else who is willing to adopt in their place. This is true even if the other biological parent would agree to terminate their rights. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has further specified that the person who is adopting in place of a parent cannot be a grandparent. For example, Mother cannot terminate Father’s rights so that Grandfather can adopt in Father’s place. Put another way, Mother and Grandfather cannot legally be the child’s parents together.