What Factors Are Considered by the Court When Determining Child Custody?

What Factors Are Considered by the Court When Determining Child Custody?

If you are in the midst of a divorce and share children with your spouse, you are likely facing the prospect of a child custody dispute and are concerned about how the court will determine custody. In some cases, parents are able to hash out a child custody arrangement through the assistance of a mediator or other alternative method of divorce, but if you are unable to reach this decision yourselves, the court will have to intervene and render a decision that is based on the best interests of your children.

What Are the “Best Interests” of the Children?

Throughout a child custody case, you will hear a lot about your children’s best interests. What does that mean exactly? All parents generally want what is best for their children, but in the context of a child custody case, “best interests” takes on a different meaning.

Below are some of the factors that a judge will consider to ensure a custody arrangement supports the best interests of the children:

  • The age of your children: The court will always favor consistency in the life of a child, especially when they are particularly young. However, as your children grow up, a judge might consider different arrangements.
  • The wishes of the parents: Just because you have a preference does not mean it will be granted, so you should never expect your wishes to be enforced. That said, a judge would still like to know what you and your spouse prefer.
  • The relationship: Do you and your children have a good relationship? The court will consider the strength and quality of the relationship you have with them.
  • Supportive co-parenting: While the two of you might not get along, you need to keep in mind that the court is going to consider the willingness of each of you to support and help facilitate the other’s relationship with the children. This is important to the court because they want to be assured that neither parent will stand in the way of the children’s ability to have a continued relationship with both of you.
  • The caregiver: The court will also be interested in knowing which parent has been providing the most care for the children. This is important because, once again, consistency is considered a key factor in the best interests of the children. If one parent is a primary caregiver while the other travels a lot, this will likely impact the judge’s decision.
  • Environment: Oftentimes, parents are asked to submit to child custody evaluations to learn more about the kind of environment they can provide. Are you able to provide a stable and loving environment for your children?
  • Domestic violence: If there is any confirmed evidence against a parent of domestic violence, abuse, or neglect, this will factor greatly into a judge’s decision.

These are just a handful of examples of what a judge considers when determining child custody. Your living accommodations, ability to provide for their needs, and even the level of attachment your children have to their current neighborhood might factor into a judge’s decision.

Child Custody Attorney in West Columbia

At Moore Taylor Law Firm, P.A., our skilled child custody attorneys in West Columbia are here to help you navigate the complexities of your child custody dispute. Our team is dedicated to effectively fighting on behalf of your clients to ensure they get the results they need. Backed by over 150 years of combined experience, you can be confident in our ability to represent your interests.

Find out more about how we can assist you and give us a call at (866) 829-1242 to schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable member of our legal team.

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