“Who will get custody of our kids, me or my ex-spouse? This is a million-dollar question every parent involved in a child custody fight wants to know. Though it is impossible to predict how the judge is likely to rule in your case, one thing is sure: the judge has a single goal in mind – determining your kids’ best interests.
Well, nearly every parent finds this legal jargon a little bit confusing. Who doesn’t want what’s best for their little angels? But in most contested child custody cases, it is up to the judge to establish what’s best for the kids, no matter the competing wishes and good intentions of both parents. Therefore, you should work with a Wilmington family law attorney.
When considering the children custody arrangements, the court will note arguments presented by both parents. All aspects of each party’s life are scrutinized, and thus, child custody is determined by many factors. Some of them include;
- Employment status and one’s financial ability to support the kids.
- Criminal history for each party.
- The reasonable preference of the kids in case they’re of sufficient age to give an opinion.
- The overall quality of life, including education, when living with either parent.
- Medical requirements of the kids and the overall health of each parent.
- History of substance abuse, mental illness, child neglect, or child abuse for both parents.
- The emotional bond between the child and the parent.
- Whether the parent can offer a safe home environment for the kids.
Separation of siblings
In addition to the factors mentioned, the family court judge must consider the impact of separating the kids. In some cases, it is in the best interest of the children to get separated. But split custody arrangements aren’t the norm. Thus, the judge must consider the ability and willingness of each parent to encourage and facilitate a close and continuing relationship between the kids and the other parent. A parent’s refusal to cooperate and communicate will hurt his or her custody claim.
The best interest for the kids
This is always the primary consideration in nearly all child custody disputes and will always prevail over each parent’s rights. A kid’s stated preference often sway family court judges in child custody cases. However, the kid’s wishes can never override the court’s requirement to award custody that serves the best interest for the child even after all factors are considered. The judge will also consider the primary caregiver and other factors.
The primary caretaker
When establishing who is the primary caretaker, the judge focuses on the direct and core care-taking responsibilities. Actually, the parent who has been taking care of the child on a day-to-day basis including taking the child to the dentist, being involved in the kids’ school, helping them with their homework, taking them to and from school, and more.
The bottom line is; there are countless factors that a family court judge must consider when handling a child custody case. Therefore, you should consult with a family attorney when handling such complex matters.