Contrary to what many people believe, the court does not want to determine who gets custody of a child. They prefer that parents work together to determine custody and parenting plans, either directly or with the help of a third party. After all, who knows what is in the best interests of a child better than his or her parents? Negotiating child custody directly allows you and your ex equal say in how you want to raise your children.
If the court must step in and make custody decisions, the overriding consideration will always be in the child’s best interests. Some factors for consideration:
- Has one parent been the primary caretaker, or have the parents shared the responsibility?
- What is the mental and physical health status of the parents?
- Will the child be in a stable home environment?
- Will the child have an opportunity for interaction with members of their extended family?
- Are there any school or community adjustments that will need to be made?
- Is there any evidence of parental drug, alcohol or sexual abuse?