How is Child Custody Determined?


One of the most difficult parts of a divorce is that where custody of your children is determined. Not only do the high strung emotions of either party make it hard, but so does the fact that you have to decide with whom your children will reside, and how often the other will be able to see them. You may already know that the judge is the ultimate deciding factor in these cases, but here are a few of the criteria that he or she will consider while making that decision:

Factor #1: Where You Are Living During the Court Process.
Judges know that the divorce is and will continue to be a traumatic time for your children, and so they will want to lessen the pressure on them any way they can. To grant some measure of consistency, they will heavily consider the parent who is still living in the home where the children were raised. If the parent who left the home does not have good enough current living quarters, then they may not be considered for custody.

Factor #2: How You Got Along With the Kids?
Another big factor that the judge will consider is the relationship that each child had with each parent. Unless absolutely necessary, the judge will not assign custody of the children to a parent with whom they never got along, and who obviously does not deeply love them. Additionally, if one parent has shown any inclination toward physical, mental, emotional, or sexual abuse of any of the children, then their chances of being assigned custody will dramatically decrease.

Factor #3: What Your Children Want to Do?
While closely tied to the above factor, this one stands apart in that the judge not only considers the situation, but he or she also considers the wishes and choices of the children. This, of course, depends on whether the child is both old and mature enough to make an educated decision on the matter.

Factor #4: Who Has the Most Reliable Position?
Another factor to consider is who will be able to best provide for the children. If either parent has a poorer income, a less desirable living condition, or any bad habits or addictions that may prevent them from adequately providing for the children, then the judge will not likely consider him or her for custody.

Factor #5: Who Has Been There the Most for the Children?
Another key factor is in determining who has been the primary caretaker. This is particularly important for cases where small children are involved. The primary caretaker is whichever parent was most involved in the lives of the children, such as in meal preparation, dressing, grooming, and transferring children to and from appointments. This is a huge factor for the same reason as factor #1, in that the judge will try to reduce the shock of the new situation as much as possible for the children.

These are only a few of the nearly infinite possibilities and factors that can go into a custody decision. To learn more on the situation, follow this link:

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