When making decisions about custody, the family court judge is always required to act in the “best interests of the child.” If you’re considering a divorce and trying to decide how they’re going to divide custody between you and your spouse, this is the standard that they’re going to apply.
But what do they actually consider? What elements are looked at when determining what is in a child’s best interests? The more you know about the process, the more you can do to make sure you get the custody rights you deserve.
Examples of factors the judge may consider
Every divorce case is unique, but the following are eight typical things courts will weigh when trying to do what is right for a child:
- Who the child’s main caregiver is on a day-to-day basis
- What relationships the child has with other family members, such as grandparents
- The child’s age and, if old enough, their own wishes
- Any special needs and considerations for that specific child
- The mental and physical health of both parents
- Any religious considerations or special cultural situations
- The community the child lives in and the school they attend
- Any evidence of wrongdoing, such as abuse allegations or a criminal record, for either parent
Again, these are just some of the main examples, but rest assured that the court will carefully consider what the child’s life will look like and what he or she needs moving forward. Be sure you understand both your parental rights and your legal options as you move through this process.