If the court has to determine your custody arrangement, they’re going to do so with the best interests of the child in mind. That is their overall goal. The desires of the parents do play into this, but the court will always attempt to put the child first.
This often leads to parents asking what the court really considers to be in the child’s best interests. How do they make these decisions? What factors do they consider? Knowing what they’re going to think about can help you understand how this choice may be made.
Creating the best post-divorce life for the children
There are a lot of different factors that may be unique to each individual case, so it’s impossible to know exactly what will apply to your case or how the court will weigh those specific issues. However, below are a few of the most common things that they tend to keep in mind when deciding how child custody should be divided. It starts with the fact that they generally assume both parents should be involved, and then the court looks at things like:
- The child’s age
- The child’s gender
- The child’s physical health
- The child’s mental health
- The parents’ physical and mental health
- The child’s preferences
- The type of living situation each parent offers
- The child’s school and social activities
- Any special cultural or religious considerations
- The role of the primary caretaker
- The proximity to extended family members
- Any parental history of things like abuse or criminal activity
The idea of letting the court decide how you and your ex are going to split up custody of your child may make you concerned. All these factors are good, but you know your child better than the court does.
If you do feel this way, you may want to consider mediation. This takes the decision out of the court’s hands and puts it back into the parents’ hands. If you and your ex can work together to come up with a custody solution that is ideal for your kids, then the court only has to approve it. This can allow you to make some of your own decisions, and it shows why it’s so important to explore all of your divorce options.