Factors Courts Consider When Deciding Who Gets Child Custody

Factors Courts Consider When Deciding Who Gets Child Custody

Aug 07

One usual cause of disagreement between divorcing couples is child custody, as there are times when both parents do not want to be separated from their child. Gone are the days when child custody was awarded solely to the mother, due to the observance of a practice called “maternal preference.” This preference was based on the presumption that mothers were better equipped with the love and concern necessary in raising children.

Many courts today consider awarding custody of the child to both parents, especially if this will be in the child’s best interest. And this is most probably the decision that a court would arrive at, unless one parent is deemed and proven unfit by the court. Being judged as an unfit parent can be due to many different reasons, such as:

  • Being abusive to the child;
  • Being a bad influence to the child (can be due to use and dependence to illegal drugs and/or alcohol);
  • Exposing the child or allowing the child to be exposed to pornographic elements;
  • Using excessive forms of disciplinary acts; or,
  • Charged or convicted of a crime, and so forth.

Two other important factors considered by the court when deciding who gets child custody are parent’s involvement in the child’s activities and the environment where the parent resides. Spending time with the child and being there when he/she needs the parent most, like in school plays, school meetings and other activities are greatly considered and appreciated by the court.

If the environment can put the child’s health at risk, though, or compromise his/her safety, maybe due to the regularity of crimes in the neighborhood or open use of illegal drugs, then these may affect the court’s decision.

The ill behavior of your new partner, which may have an unfavorable effect on the child, can also keep the court from deciding in favor of the parent under such circumstance. Many other things are considered by the court, including the possible custodian’s health, age and financial opportunities.

Thus, as explained by the law firm Marshall & Taylor PLLC, because of the importance a child custody agreement has on both the lives of the children and the parents, this is frequently the most contentious issue that arises during a divorce proceeding. However, determining what type of custody you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will have is critical to successfully completing the divorce process.

Sole custody, for instance, gives a parent or guardian legal responsibility of a child. There are many decisions and responsibilities regarding the child that those who have sole custody will undertake. Some of these responsibilities include making vital life decisions that will affect a child’s future, such as: medical care, religious upbringing, educational opportunities, and other important life choices.