This Child Custody Cases

You, your spouse, and lawyers representing each of you will go before a judge, who will determine who gets custody based on the best interests of each child.

Though this is a subjective decision, a judge will consider several factors to make a reasoned determination. These are the factors that a judge uses to make a decision that favors each child:

  • First, a judge will consider a child’s age. An infant or very young child will often remain with their mother.
  • The judge will also consider the current living situation and how the living situation will change. Where have you and your spouse been living? Will one of you move far away? Will one of you remain in your current home? A judge usually considers how difficult moving can be on a child, especially if they have close friendships or are dedicated to activities in their current community.
  • The judge will also reason, based on testimonies and each spouse’s lifestyle, how close each parent’s relationship is with each child. Fathers may bond more closely with male children, for example. If one parent works from home or part-time, they may have spent more time with their children.
  • Approaching a custody arrangement like a battle can work against you. Judges will often rule in favor of parents that are more cooperative with their current spouse. Parents that seem combative or vocalize their displeasure with other parent will appear to be a negative influence on a child.
  • Children that are about age 12 or older will often have the chance to share their preferences regarding custody or visitation rights. Depending on where you live, considering the child’s preferences, no matter their age, may be a requirement.
  • A judge will also have a keen eye for signs of abuse or neglect. A judge will rule firmly against a parent who has abused or neglected a child.
  • In addition, details about your lifestyle, income, hobbies, and overall emotional stability will be called into question.