To determine custody decision, the courts top priority in all considerations is the "best interest" of the child.
But, what exactly are these best interests and how do the courts determine which interests are most important?
Stability of parent
When a parent is requesting custody of a child, the court will search for evidence that the parent can meet the physical and emotional needs of the child. This will include the parent-child relationship as well a the parent's financial ability to provide adequate shelter, food, clothing and healthcare.
The courts will consider the conditions of the living environment each parent has to offer. That includes the upkeep of the home and the accommodations it offers as well as its proximity to educational opportunities and social opportunities.
Routine and consistency
Typically, courts do not want to disrupt the routine and day-to-day life a child is already accustomed to. This means consideration will be taken for living arrangements, childcare and availability of extended family.
Age of the children
A one-year-old will need much different care than a child who just became a teenager. Because of this, special accommodations will need to be considered and a judge may even elicit input from a child on what they prefer.
Get help supporting your case
If you are concerned about custody during your divorce, you should contact an attorney to discuss your situation and what you can do to make your efforts for custody stronger.