The only thing more difficult than going through a divorce is going through a divorce with children. Child custody can be one of the most emotional and difficult aspects of ending a marriage. This is because parents want what is best for their children and, oftentimes, feel that they each are the best equipped to provide that. The court system recognizes this and, as a result, has put into place several factors that judges must consider when making child custody determinations to ensure that the best interests of the child are met.
So, what do judges look for when making child custody decisions? The answer is everything. In making child custody determinations, judges must consider the following factors:
The age of the child is an important factor the judge will consider. This is because, as children get older, they are better able to express their own preferences and needs. As a result, judges will give more weight to the child's wishes if they are older.
The relationship between the child and each parent is another important factor that judges must consider. This includes the amount of time each parent spends with the child, the quality of that time, and whether the parent can meet the child's needs. A history of unhealthy behaviors, such as drug use or domestic violence that has impacted a parent's relationship with their child will impact the judge's decision.
The ability of each parent to provide a stable home environment is also an important factor that judges must consider. This includes the stability of each parent's employment, housing, and lifestyle. A judge will also consider whether each parent is able to provide a safe and healthy environment for the child. A stable environment includes conditions such as having adequate food, clothing, and attention to medical and educational needs.
Each parent's mental and physical health is also an important factor for judges to consider. This includes considerations such as whether each parent can care for the child physically and emotionally. For example, a parent who suffers from chronic depression or addiction may not be able to provide the level of care that a child always needs. Judges are sensitive to the fact that a parent's mental health can impact their ability to care for their child and find creative solutions for the parent to be involved in the child's life in a safe and healthy way for both parties.
The geographic proximity of each parent is also an important factor for judges to consider. This is because it can impact the amount of time each parent is able to spend with the child. For example, if one parent lives in another state, it may not be possible for them to have the child for an extended period. Judges must also consider the travel time between each parent's home and the child's school and activities.
These are just some of the factors that judges must consider when making child custody determinations. It is important to remember that each case is unique, and, as a result, the judge has a great deal of discretion in deciding. If you are involved in a child custody case, it is important to speak with an experienced and well-reputable family law attorney to discuss the specific facts of your case and what you can do to protect your rights.
A: When making a custody decision, the courts will primarily look at the age of the child and the relationship between the child and each parent. These two factors indicate to the court which parent is more likely to be able to provide a stable and loving home for the child.
A: Yes, a custody agreement can be modified if there is a change in circumstances. For example, if one parent moves to another state, the agreement may need to be modified to reflect the new situation. Or, if a new pattern of behaviors emerges that is harmful to the child, the agreement may need to be modified to protect the child from any future harm.
A: The best way to impress a judge in family court is to be prepared. This means having all of the necessary documentation, such as birth certificates and school records. It also means being on time for all court appearances and being respectful to the judge and other court personnel. Finally, it means having a clear and concise argument as to why you should have custody of the child. You can ensure that you are prepared by working with an experienced family law attorney.
A: The first step in the custody process is to file a petition with the court. This document will state your name, the other parent's name, and the child's name. It will also state your relationship with the child and why you request custody. After the petition is filed, a hearing will be scheduled so that the court can decide.
If you are going through a divorce or child custody battle, the Johnson Law Group can help. We understand how emotional and difficult this time can be, and we are here to help you through the process. Allow us to begin strategizing your case to ensure that your child's health, safety, and well-being are protected.
Every day we are driven by our North Star: to help good parents stay in their children's lives. We will fight for you and your family as we have already done countless times before. Contact us today to begin the process of creating a better tomorrow for you and your children.