When you address child custody in your divorce, the court will focus on the best interests of your children. The children are always at the center of any decisions the court will make when it comes to parenting time and other issues.
Best interests is a vague term that may not be easy to understand. FindLaw explains it means what is going to offer your child the happiest, healthiest and safest solution.
When a court looks to what is in the best interest of a child in general, it will consider how to allow the child to have a meaningful relationship with both parents. Sometimes, this cannot happen due to other issues within the family. However, the ultimate goal is to provide a child with the ability to be with both parents whenever possible.
Factors in a decision
When the court cannot find an amicable way to divide parenting time, it will consider other factors. In some cases, the court will talk with the child and consider his or her wishes. The court will also look at who cared for the children during the marriage and who was the parent they spent the most time with.
The court will also look at each parent and his or her ability to provide a secure home for the child. If a parent has a history of criminal activity, substance abuse or violence, then this may impact the court’s decision.
The court also will consider life after the divorce and who can provide the most stable home that will produce the least number of changes for the child. Other special considerations are also something the court will think about. This might include special health needs or religious factors.
Child custody matters are something the court takes very seriously. It will take time to make a decision that it feels is best for the child.