Couples with children who are divorcing or in the middle of a custody dispute should be familiar with how child custody arrangements are determined and what they are based on. The short answer is that child custody is decided based on what is in the best interests of the child but it is helpful to know there are a variety of factors used to determine what is best of the child.
Child custody factors
A variety of different factors are used to determine child custody that parents should be familiar with including:
- The age and physical and mental condition of the child and consideration is also given to the child’s changing developmental needs;
- The age and physical and mental conditions of the parents;
- The relationship between the child and each of its parents which consideration given to each parent’s positive involvement in the child’s life and their ability to accurately assess and meet the emotional, intellectual and physical needs of the child;
- The needs of the child giving consideration to other important relationships in the child’s life including, but not limited to, siblings, peers and extended family members;
- The role each parent has played in the upbringing and care of the child and will play in the upbringing and care of the child in the future;
- The propensity of each of the parents to actively support the child’s contact and relationship with the other parent, including if one of the parents has unreasonably denied the other parent access to visitation with the child;
- The reasonable preference of the child if the family law court deems the child to be of a reasonable intelligence, understanding, age and experience to express such preference;
- Any history of family abuse, sexual abuse, child abuse or other acts of violence, force or threats; and
- Any other factors the family law court deems necessary and proper to making a child custody determination.
Child custody factors are important to understand, as the family law court will apply and evaluate them to determine child custody. Child custody is a challenging issue for many parents and families and for that reason, parents should be familiar with the factors used to determine the best child custody arrangement.