Deciding a child custody arrangement that satisfies all parties is never easy. When two parents are unable to reach common ground, they may have to resort to the courtroom to settle custody disputes. Often, fighting for custody can be complex, and predicting the outcome is difficult when both parents present good arguments. However, it’s important to know that there are a number of factors that the court will consider when awarding custody.
The court’s goal is to choose an arrangement that’s in the best interest of the children involved. If you are in the midst of a custody dispute, check out these seven factors.
1. The Parents’ Wishes
A judge will of course take into consideration the desires of both parents. If the parents are able to amicably agree on child support and a child custody arrangement that works in both of their favor, the court will generally honor those terms. However, problems arise if both parents are seeking full primary custody or haven’t yet agreed to the terms of the custody arrangements. The court will be forced to determine what is best for your children.
2. The Preference of the Children
The court doesn’t make its decision based solely on what the children want. However, it will take the children’s preference into consideration, especially if they are of a sufficient age. The judge may interview the children in an informal setting or appoint a social worker to talk to the child to get a feel of want they want and their opinion of each parent.
3. Each Parent’s Ability to Provide for the Child
Each parent’s ability to provide accommodations and care for the child’s needs will have a big impact on the child custody arrangement, as well as the child support arrangement. Being able to provide financial support is very important. The court will also look at living arrangements to ensure that there is room for the children in the parent’s home.
4. The Relationship the Child Has With the Parent
Typically, the quality of the relationship a child has with each of his or her parents will be analyzed. For example, let’s say the child tends to spend more time with one parent and has developed a stronger relationship with him/her. The judge may decide in the favor of whomever the child is closer to. An absentee parent or a parent who doesn’t spend much time with the child will likely be awarded visitation rights.
5. Willingness to Compromise With Each Other
Despite your negative feelings about a former partner, it’s essential to show that you are willing to compromise and cooperate during the process. Both parents will be interviewed to determine just how much they are willing to cooperate with one another and do what is in the best interest of their children.
6. Physical and Mental Health of Each Parent
Of course, the physical and mental well being of both parents are also taken into consideration. A parent who is struggling with substance abuse issues isn’t likely to be awarded custody. What about a parent who has a health condition that limits them physically? A parent with primary custody should be strong enough to attend to the needs of the child. A parent with a physical or mental condition that impacts his or her parenting skills will have a hard time getting custody.
7. Abuse and Neglect
Allegations or actual incidents of abuse or neglect will affect a child custody arrangement case. In instances where a parent is found to be making false accusations, the judge will consider that when making the final decision.