If you’re preparing to go to custody court for the first time, you likely do not know what to expect. What will they consider? How are my chances? And how should I prepare for whatever outcome we may reach? When it comes to custody, there are plenty of deciding factors that a judge might consider. We’ve taken the time to outline a few noteworthy considerations that will be part of the decision. From age, financials of each parent, relationship, and preference… Ultimately, there are quite a few factors that might come to influence the judges decision.
Deciding Factors for Child Custody
The younger the child; the more likely the child ends up with the mother. This is an unfortunate fact, as the mother is not always the ideal parent to become the primary caretaker. But when it comes down to it, those age old traditions of the mother as the caretaker is still quite present in the court. Many times, it takes a provably unfit mother for the father to be considered as the primary guardian.
One of the main considerations when it comes to primary custody, is which living condition will be the most fit for the child. Which home will disrupt their lives the least? What place is closest to their school? Which is closest to their activities? Ultimately, the living condition must be stable. The more stable, and continuous the home— the better the chance of receiving primary custody.
If you child is 12 or older, they might potentially have a say in their preference. While the judge might not completely honor it, they will take their opinion into consideration. Many judges prefer to keep children out of the middle completely. But, if they do not— their preference can be a considering factor.
We’ve mentioned this before, but I cannot stress it enough. Stability is of a primary concern and likely one of the strongest deciding factors. The judge is taking into account the child’s lifestyle, their needs, and what will cause the least amount of disruption.
The best thing you can do to prepare
The best thing you can do to prepare, is understand what’s working in your favor— and what’s not. You don’t want to be surprised when it comes down to it. So, speak with your lawyer, decide what you’re working with, and plan accordingly. We wish you luck as you move forward with your custody proceedings— and offer our services if you need them.