What Matters to the Court When Deciding Custody

Posted by Thomas M. FischerJun 10, 20240 Comments

If you're going through a divorce and have children, custody decisions are paramount. Hiring the best divorce attorney helps to ensure your rights are protected. When making custody rulings, courts consider multiple factors regarding the child's well-being and interests. Understanding these factors can help you prepare your strongest case with the help of the best divorce attorney.

Parent-Child Bond

Courts look at the depth of the bond between each parent and child. Which parent serves key roles like providing daily care, nurturing, discipline, life skills, and moral guidance? Who does the child trust and seek comfort from? Evidence such as time spent together and responsibilities handled demonstrates the strength of the parent-child relationship.

Family Unit Preservation

Judges prefer to keep established family units intact when possible. This prioritizes custody with the parent who has been the child's primary caregiver within the family home. Disrupting the child's sense of home and normal routines is detrimental to their stability. Custody arrangements that allow maintaining family bonds are favored.

Child's Preferences

If the child is old enough to thoughtfully articulate their custody preferences, the court may consider those wishes as a factor. The child's rationale and maturity will impact the weight given to their wishes. The courts will always acknowledge a child's reasonable opinion about their living situation.

Co-Parenting Potential

According to Custody Change, 86% of cases with both parents represented reached an ideal outcome with a settlement. This is because courts know that ongoing cooperation between parents provides the best environment for children. Custody decisions aim to facilitate cooperative co-parenting whenever possible. Reasonable shared custody arrangements are ideal.

Parental Capabilities

The court examines attributes like moral character, mental health, employment, living situation, and ability to meet the child's needs. Factors like abuse, substance issues, or negligence demonstrate parental unfitness. Even things like work schedules may come into play for practical reasons. The judge aims to award primary custody to the most capable parent.

While deciding custody, the court's top priority is protecting the child's best interests now and in the future. Working with an experienced divorce attorney helps you understand legal factors and present the strongest case for your desired custody arrangement. Remember, compromise and cooperation ultimately allow both parties to decide what's best for your child together. Call Fischer & Phinney LLP now to schedule a consultation if you're going through a divorce or need help with child custody from the best divorce attorney.