Divorce is almost always difficult, but it can be made even more challenging when you have children with your soon-to-be ex. When making child custody decisions, the courts will focus on the best interests of the child. In order to determine what those are, the court will consider a number of factors relating to health, relationships within the family, and needs of the child.
Generally, the courts will look at each parent’s role in the child’s upbringing and the duties each parent performs on a regular basis, as well as the ability and willingness of each parent to perform such duties in the future. There are also safety considerations, as the courts must consider if there is a history of past abuse or alcohol/drug issues and whether both parents can provide a safe environment for the child. Overall, the court wants to make sure that the primary custodian of the child can care for the child’s physical, emotional, educational, and financial needs on a daily basis.
The courts will also consider factors relating to other familial relationships, including whether extended family is available to help care for the child and the child’s relationships with his or her siblings. The court will also look at which parent is more likely to facilitate a relationship with the other parent and how far apart the parents live from one another.
With few exceptions, family courts want the child to have strong, positive relationships with both parents after a divorce. A family law attorney can help make sure that the court is aware of all necessary information before making a custody decision.