Child custody can be one of the most emotional and difficult issues in a divorce. The best solution to the problem is when the parents agree upon the child custody arrangement and visitation schedule by themselves. In this case there will be no need to turn to the court to decide these issues for them. However, if the parents cannot manage the custody and visitation schedule on their own, then the custody decision is made by the family court judge.
A court will consider lots of factors to determine which of the parents should have primary custody of the child or to determine whether the parents should share the child custody.
If the judge has to decide on child custody here he/she will typically consider two key questions:
- Who is currently the child’s primary caretaker?
- What’s in the child’s best interest?
In deciding which parent should be the primary caretaker of the child the family courts usually focus on things like:
- Which parent is most involved in bathing grooming and dressing the child
- Which parent makes clothing purchases and takes laundry responsibilities
- Which parent does meal planning and preparation
- Which parent most often helps with homework
- Which parent attends teacher conferences and meetings
Another group of factors that are vital when deciding which of the parents will take care of the child are:
- Child’s medical needs
- Costs of healthcare
- Frequency of the doctor’s visits
- Child’s need to be taken care of on a regular basis
- Child’s need to attend a special school
- Child’s need for special apparatus in the home
- Child’s need for specialized devices of transportation
The child’s best interest decision involves factors like:
- The parent’s mental and physical health
- Evidence of drug or alcohol abuse
- Evidence of sex abuse
- The child’s adjustment to school and community
Child custody decision are delicate issues, they require lots of courage and strength to be determined properly. You can find more articles on family law and other useful stuff in our website.