Child custody cases prove to be very emotional for judges. They take into account many pieces of information to allow them to make a decision that is in the best interest of the child. So what do they typically look at?
Fitness of the parents
One of the first things that the court will look at is the physical and mental shape of each parent. This will allow them to determine if there are any concerns for the parent’s ability to care for the child.
Reputation and Character
The court will evaluate the reputation and character of each parent to deem if they are fit to raise the child.
Ability to preserve family relationships
This relates to the willingness of the parents to allow the child to maintain a relationship with the family. For example, will the mother allow visitation and communication between the child and the father’s side of the family.
Preference of the child
Depending on the age and maturity of the child, the judge may permit them to speak and give their preference of which parent they wish to live with. If the child is in the age range of 10-12, they would most likely be able to give an account, depending on the judge.
The court will take into the account the ability of each parent to provide a comfortable, quality life for the child.
Prior Abandonment of Custody
If one of the parents previously walked out on the child or family, this can play a role in the custody decision. They will look at which parent walked out, why they left and if they are a risk to abandon the child again.
Length of separation
This does not relate to the length of time the spouses have been separated, rather this is focused on the amount of time that a parent has been apart from the child.
Residency of the parents
The court will evaluate where each parent lives. If the two spouses live within 25 minutes or so of each other, this will not be a big deal. However, if they live a few hours apart or in different states, the courts will need to evaluate which living situation is in the best interest of the child.
When it comes to child custody cases, it is important that you show the court that you are a responsible parent and can look after the best interests of the child. When it comes to the well-being of children, the courts take this decision very seriously. That is why you need an experienced attorney by your side who can prepare your case to ensure your parental rights and look after the best interests of the child.
If you are heading towards divorce and want to make sure your parental rights will be recognized, schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys so we can help you and your child transition into this next phase of life.