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What factors do courts consider when ruling on child custody?

On Behalf of | Mar 6, 2024 | Child Custody |

During divorce, courts have an obligation to uphold the best interest of all involved parties, especially children. As such, the decision of which parent(s) gets to stay with their child is subject to in-depth evaluations and considerations to determine the child’s best interests when a family’s case is litigated, not negotiated or mediated to reach a mutually-agreeable arrangement.

When deciding child custody cases, courts may consider several factors to determine what arrangement will best serve a child’s needs.

Key elements in child custody determination

The following are some key elements in child custody determination:

  • Ability to meet child’s needs: The courts will evaluate each parent’s ability to meet the child’s physical, emotional, and developmental needs. This includes assessing factors such as each parent’s housing situation, employment stability, financial resources and access to healthcare.
  • Parent-child relationship: The existing bond between each parent and the children will also be evaluated. Courts may consider factors such as the history of caregiving, involvement in the child’s life and the ability to facilitate a healthy and meaningful relationship between the child and the other parent.
  • Continuity and stability: Courts typically prioritize maintaining stability and continuity in the child’s life, particularly in terms of their living arrangements, school, community and relationships. They may consider which parent can offer the most consistent and stable environment for the child to thrive.
  • Child safety: The safety and well-being of the child is a significant concern in custody determinations. Courts will assess whether there are any concerns regarding domestic violence, substance abuse or other elements that may pose a risk to the child’s physical or emotional safety. They may also consider any history of child abuse or neglect by either parent when making custody decisions.

When children are involved in a divorce scenario, getting legal guidance can help better ensure that the best interests of the child are prioritized and that custody arrangements are fair and appropriate for facilitating their well-being.