The subject of child custody is rarely a pleasant one when both parents are bitterly fighting to be the primary caregiver. A family lawyer can help you build a good case for getting custody. Below are seven points judges take into consideration before rendering a decision.
1. Financial Stability and Financial Support
One legal obligation of the court system is to take a close look at the finances of each parent and make a determination on who can provide best for the child. It is not the complete deciding factor but plays a big role in final outcomes. The judge can always opt to assess child support, so the bigger paycheck does not always win.
2. Home Stability and Community Involvement
It’s in the best interest of the child to not have them stay in a home that is filled with chaos, is involved with frequent moves, or is periodically homeless. Maintaining a clean, safe residence is important. It’s also going to be favorable if your child is heavily involved in school and after-school recreational activities on a regular basis.
3. Mental, Physical, and Emotional Health
A judge should never knowingly place children with a parent that has emotional, mental, or serious physical problems. The custodial parent needs to be able to function well enough to provide for the daily care of the child.
4. Charges of Abuse
Any charges of domestic violence or abuse will not be taken lightly. Discuss any instances with a family lawyer to see if this hurts your case. It could make a huge difference in the outcome of the decision on where to place the kids. You don’t want surprised at the last minute.
5. Primary Caregiver and Primary Residence
Most judges are hard-pressed to take a child away from the primary caregiver they are used to or remove them from the primary residence. It can happen but usually involves abuse or domestic violence issues. Custody decisions are generally made with thoughts of comfort and healthy decisions made for the child’s benefit.
6. Parental Involvement
If you work all the time and don’t see your children very often, miss visitations, or are relatively uninvolved with your children, you will most likely not get full custody. A judge will look at the availability and involvement of each parent in the life of the child.
7. Where the Child Chooses to Live (Age-Dependent)
Depending on the state and the judge, children as young as 12 will some say in where they end up and which parent will end up with primary custody. Some judges prefer to allow children 14 or 15 to add in their preferences to the decision.
Discuss your child custody case with a qualified family lawyer to try and improve your chances of getting the decision you want. At the Matrimonial Home website, you may be able to find more useful information.