In any divorce when children are involved, child custody is likely one of the primary concerns divorcing parents have. As a result, it is beneficial for divorcing parents to be familiar with the child custody factors used to determine custody.
Child custody is determined based on what is in the best interests of the child. To determine this, the family law court looks at a variety of factors to arrive at a child custody arrangement that will support the well-being and safety of the child. Factors that are evaluated to determine what is in the best interests of the child include:
- The age and physical and mental conditions of the child;
- The child’s changing developmental needs;
- The age and physical and mental conditions of each of the parents;
- The existing relationship between the child and its parents;
- The needs of the child, including important relationships with siblings, extended family and peers;
- The role of each parent in the child’s upbringing;
- The ability of the parents to resolve disputes related to the child;
- The child’s custody preference;
- Any history of abuse; and
- Any other factors the family law court views as necessary to determining child custody.
Because both physical and legal custody of the child must be decided upon, familiarity with the process and these factors can be helpful. Parents are encouraged to work together but the family law court can also help them reach a child custody agreement that is best for their child.
Child custody can be an emotional part of the divorce process which is why it is useful for divorcing parents and the family law court to focus on a child custody arrangement that is in the best interests of the child. To do that, parents need to be familiar with how what is in their child’s best interest is assessed so that child custody can be resolved with that goal in mind.