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What factors are considered when determining child custody

Divorce can be a complicated process, especially when there are children involved. Although you want to make choices that are in the best interest of your children, it can be difficult to determine which parent should receive custody. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, children often fair better when they have consistent access to both parents. Yet, the judge presiding over the case may look at certain factors before making the final decision as to where the children will be best off.

First, the judge may take into consideration which parent was the primary caregiver to the child. The parent who spends the most time taking care of the child and supports them through their educational, medical and recreational ventures is often the parent who receives physical custody of the child. The judge may also look at whether one parent will help to foster a good relationship with the other parent, as this makes it easier on the children involved.

In addition to these things, the court may look at the following:

  • The living situation of each parent, such as the neighborhood and school district
  • The parent’s ability to care for the child
  • The occupation and income of each parent
  • The mental and physical health of each parent

In some cases, the judge may ask the child which parent he or she would like to live with. For the most part, however, all decisions are based on what outcome will be best for the child’s physical, mental and over-all wellbeing.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.

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