Child custody can be a delicate issue for both parents and for the child. Parents can help prepare for the child custody process by being familiar with what is used to determine child custody and what is taken into account when deciding what child custody arrangement will be best for the child.
Preparing for child custody and how it is determined
There are several factors taken into consideration when child custody is awarded including:
- Which parent is more likely to encourage and permit continuing contact between the child and the other parent.
- Any present or past abuse committed by one of the parents or a member of their household and if a risk still exists to the child.
- Parenting duties performed by each parent for the child.
- The continuity and stability in the child’s family life, community life and education.
- The child’s relationships with siblings.
- The availability of extended family in the child’s life.
- Based on the child’s maturity and judgment, the child’s preference.
- Any attempt by one of the parents to turn the child against the other parent, domestic violence situations excepted.
- The parent more likely to maintain a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship with the child.
- The parent more likely to attend to the daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational and special needs of the child.
- The proximity of the residences of the parents.
- The ability of each parent to care for the child and make appropriate childcare arrangements.
- The level of conflict between the parents and their ability to work together.
- Any history of drug or alcohol abuse of one of the parents or a member of their household.
- The mental and physical conditions of the parents and members of their household.
- Any other relevant factor.
The list of factors used to help arrive at child custody is long and is intended to ensure the decision that is made is what is best for the child. Parents can help themselves prepare for the child custody process by understanding this list and how they can help develop a child-custody arrangement that is best for the child and works for the family. If you are facing child custody concerns, it helps to know what to anticipate and how family law resources will help decide custody.