Going through a divorce is never easy. It’s a time of arguing and disagreements, and it’s even worse when kids are involved. When you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement on child custody, a judge will step in and make the decision for you. A judge will make his or her decision based on what is best for your children, but there are specific factors that go into making that final decision. This article explains those factors that affect a judge’s child custody decision.
Factors That Go Into a Child Custody Decision
The following are the factors a judge considers when making a decision about child custody:
- your child’s age
- the mental and physical well-being (or lack of it) of each parent
- each parent’s care taking capacities and the home environment that each parent could provide to the child
- the role of each parent thus far in taking care of the child
- the child’s relationship to each parent
- the time available to each parent to be with the child, as the judge may wish to maximize the child’s time with a parent as opposed to a babysitter or daycare center
- the environment that the parent can create for the child
- the presence of siblings in the family and the siblings’ relationship to each parent and to each other
- prior bad acts of either parent (as, for instance, abuse and neglect)
- parental drug or alcohol problems
- religious factors
- the willingness of each parent to keep the other parent involved in the child’s life and to facilitate the other parent’s access to the child
- each parent’s adult relationships including non-marital sexual relations.
In the long run, the judge wants to do what’s best for the child. If time sharing and 50/50 custody is a possibility for the child, that will be the plan set in place.