What Factors May the Judge Look For When Deciding Child Custody?

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Child Custody Lawyer

Once two parents part ways, the next step is perhaps figuring out who will be granted child custody. The single most common question parents have, are what factors are taken into consideration when the judge chooses which parent gets custody. It can be grueling and heart-wrenching for any parent to imagine losing their child. While it can be difficult to figure out exactly how things will go, the judge is likely to focus on what is in the child’s best interest.

Q: But what if both parents are great role models for the children?

A: In some cases, each parent can offer children a happy and supportive environment to grow up in. It is possible that the judge will grant joint custody, where both parents share an equal role in spending time with and making decisions for their children. But, this means the parents must be willing and able to work together.

Q: What are examples of factors most judges consider when deciding custody?

A: In addition to what is best for the child or children, a judge may use other factors to help make the decision. If the child is of an age where he or she can make reasonable choices, the judge may ask who he or she prefers to live with. A judge may ask the child privately, as it can be difficult for parents to hear that their child wants to live with the other instead. Examples of factors many judges use when deciding custody can include the following:

  • Age of the children and if they are younger, what will provide a consistent environment to grow up in
  • The wishes of both parents
  • The quality of the dynamic between the child and each parent
  • The mental health and physical capability of each parent
  • How willing each parent is to support the child’s relationship with the other, and that the custodial parent won’t stand in the way
  • Which parent has been providing the child’s care up until now
  • The amount of traveling each parent does every year for work
  • The living conditions of each parent’s home, and whether the child will have his or her own room
  • How attached the child is to his or her current home, school, community, activities, and friendships
  • Whether drug abuse, domestic violence or neglect has occurred at any time during the relationship or after separation
  • Whether either parent has wrongfully accused the other of being abusive or neglectful
  • Each parent’s ability to provide physical needs, medical care, and emotional support for the child

Q: How can an attorney help me during my child custody battle?

A: A child custody lawyer trusts can offer guidance and strategy as you fight for custody of your child or children. An attorney can give you insight into what type of information to bring forward in front of the judge, to show you are the fittest parent to have custody. Fighting for custody of a child can be emotionally and mentally draining, so it can help to have a legal professional there as support every step of the way.