When deciding which parent will obtain custody of a child, the court will always answer the following question: What is in the best interest of the child?
From where you sit, you probably believe that the child living with you is best. Of course, the same can be said for the other parent. This is why it’s important to understand the factors the court considers when making this critical decision.
Depending on the age of your child, the court may take his or her preference into consideration when making a decision.
Although the phrase “best interest” is difficult to define, here are some factors that the court is sure to consider:
- The wishes of the child (see above)
- The physical and mental health of both parents
- Religious considerations
- Home environment (which parent can provide a more stable home)
- Opportunity for support from other family members, such as siblings and grandparents
- School and community
- Sex and age of the child
- Any history of parental use of emotional abuse
- Any evidence associated with sex, drugs or alcohol abuse
Since there can be a lot of gray area when it comes to child custody disputes, you need to know what to expect in court and the steps you can take to swing things in your favor.
You never know what the court will decide on, and regardless of the decision, you must be ready to take action to ensure that you continue to raise your child in the best possible manner.
It’s difficult to think about and more difficult to deal with, but matters of child custody can impact you now and in the future. Make sure you’re prepared for everything.