For many parents, child custody decisions are handled through mediation or another collaborative method. This enables the two people who know the children the best to make decisions about how they will handle the various aspects of the arrangement. Unfortunately, not all parents can put their differences aside and determine how to set up the parenting plan. In those cases, they will turn to the court to decide what terms will govern the child custody situation.
The sole consideration of the court in these cases is what’s best for the child. The judge isn’t going to worry about specific things impacting the parents. There are several factors that are considered when the court is trying to make this decision.
- Involvement with the child: The court will typically look at which parent provides the majority of the care for the child.
- Stability in the home: If one parent is stable and the other isn’t, the court may default to allowing primary custody to the stable parent.
- Wishes of the child: Some children are old enough to make their wishes known. The court may consider their wishes, but it likely won’t be the only thing that’s considered.
- Support for the child: Children need support as they adjust to the new way of life. The judge will consider which parent is more likely to foster relationships, including the relationship between the child and the other parent.
Typically, children whose parents can work together to come up with a parenting plan end up with one that more closely meets their needs. Being able to work through this process with your ex can start your new parenting relationship off on the right foot. Working closely with your attorney may help you find creative solutions that work for your case.