Judges are typically looking for a child custody arrangement that provides the most stability and consistency to children. To help them do this, they take many factors into consideration when making a custody decision. These factors include:
Whether the parent has a stable living situation. This is an important factor because it demonstrates the ability to care for children and maintain a consistent environment. If a parent is moving frequently or between homes, this will probably have a negative impact on their custody case.
The current relationship between the child and each parent. Often, parents develop a very strong bond with their children and this is something that courts want to preserve. If a parent is demonstrating a good relationship with the child, this will likely have a positive effect on their custody case.
A judge will consider a child’s preferences, but the importance of this factor depends on the age of the child. For example, a 12 year-old’s wishes might weigh more heavily than an 8 year old’s because older kids are generally more mature and have a better understanding of the situation. In general, a judge will prefer a parenting plan that allows for the continued participation of the child in their school, neighborhood, religious life and peer relationships.
Obviously, any actual incidents of abuse or neglect will be taken into account by the court. However, allegations of abuse will also be considered and even if they are false, they may have a significant impact on the custody decision. A judge will also look at the parents’ history of domestic violence and how this may affect the decision.
It’s common for judges to examine each parent’s financial situation in order to determine a fair amount of child support. A judge will also examine each parent’s ability to provide a loving and stable environment for the children. This is an important aspect because it helps the judge to determine which parent is the best choice to care for the children’s emotional well-being.
If a child has been in one home for a long time, the judge will probably favor awarding that parent with physical custody because it will reduce the disruption to the child’s life. The same is true for a child who has been in the same school and community for a long time, and the judge will be very concerned if a major change is proposed that would require the child to re-adjust to a new lifestyle.
A judge will also consider how easy it is for each parent to cooperate with visitation. This is an area where a parent who is consistently rude and uncooperative to the other parent will have a difficult time getting custody. On the other hand, a parent who willingly cooperates and respects the other parent’s right to be involved in their child’s life will have a strong case. This is why it’s so important for both parents to work together to come up with a reasonable child custody agreement. The laws on child custody vary from state to state, so you should contact a local Miami divorce & family lawyer for help with your specific situation.