Child custody may be one of the most important decisions made in your divorce. As a parent, you are probably used to seeing your child every day, and you may be concerned about the time you will have with him or her post-divorce.
It is often best for the child and the parents if the parents can work together to reach an agreement regarding legal decision-making and parenting time. This is because parents often understand their child’s needs better than anyone else does.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible for parents to reach an agreement. Sometimes parents disagree about their child’s needs. Other times a parent may have unreasonable demands or insist upon arrangements that prioritize his or her own best interests.
A court can consider any relevant factors
If you and your ex-spouse cannot agree on a custody arrangement, a court must decide the arrangement. The court’s decision will hinge on your child’s best interests, which it will determine based on all the factors relevant to your child’s physical and emotional well-being.
Some factors a court may consider include:
- Your child’s relationship with each parent
- Your child’s other important relationships, such as relationships with siblings
- The mental and physical health of everyone involved
- Your child’s adjustment to home, school and the community
- Your child’s wishes
- How likely each parent is to support the child’s relationship with the other parent
- Any history of domestic violence or child abuse
The best interests of your child should drive any child custody decision, regardless of who makes it. Understanding the factors that a court may consider when determining your child’s best interests may help you better advocate for your child throughout the child custody process.