Child Custody Factors: What Does a Judge Take Into Consideration?
When couples get divorced, they aren’t always able to agree on a custody arrangement for their children. If both parties are unable to reach common ground, the decision will go to the court. While each custody case is unique, there is a criteria of sorts that a judge will use to get a clear picture of the situation. Read on to learn what factors come into play when a judge is deciding which parent will be granted primary custody.
The Child’s Preference
Your child’s feelings can absolutely influence a judge’s decision. Sometimes the child will have a better relationship with one of the parents, or maybe will express that they feel safer with one parent over the other. Most times, these opinions and statements come out in a confidential interview between the judge and the child. These opinions will carry more weight if the child is older (14 and above) but are always considered important no matter what age.
Mental & Physical Health of Both Parents
A parent that is in good physical and mental health will have a higher chance of being awarded custody. This is because the court is looking for a parent who will be able to keep up with, and attend to, the needs of their child. If a parent suffers from a condition that could impede their ability to parent, they may have a harder time securing primary custody.
Educational & Lifestyle Impact
The court’s goal is always to minimize the impact of a divorce on any children involved. Moving schools or cities means uprooting a child from their friends and current lifestyle. That in conjunction with the other stressors associated with divorce can be very hard on a child, so the court may grant custody to the parent that can offer the least amount of change.
Work Obligations of Both Parents
At a basic level, the parent who is awarded primary custody needs to be able to provide financially for their child. However, parents are also expected to be able to spend time with their children. If one parent has a job that keeps them away from their children for most of the day, they may have a harder time securing custody over a parent who has a more flexible work schedule.
The condition of each parent’s home will absolutely play a role in deciding custody. The court wants to make sure any children are being sent to a home that is clean, comfortable and meets their needs.
It’s Never Just One Factor
Deciding which parent will receive primary custody is never based on just one factor. The court will take all of these factors listed above, and more, into consideration before making their final decision.
Heritage Law Can Help
With over 30 years of family law experience, you can trust the team at Heritage Law Offices to offer excellent legal representation. Contact us today to make an appointment.