When the court needs to decide how to divide custody between two parents, they tend to focus on what is in the child’s best interests. They want to put the children first, in other words, and that sometimes means that they don’t necessarily do what the parents would like.
If you’re going through a divorce, you may feel that your desires should take precedence, and you probably want to know what the court would consider more important than that. What defines a child’s best interests and what types of things is the court going to consider?
Trying to keep life the same
One goal that the court has is to increase stability for the children by keeping life as much the same as they can. That means considering who is the child’s primary caregiver, for instance, and where they live or where they go to school. Ideally, a child should be able to keep the same relationships that they have and stay in the same school system, and spending the most time with the primary caregiver can increase this sense of normality.
Other factors that the court may consider include:
- The parents’ living situations
- The parents’ mental health
- The parents’ physical health
- The child’s special needs
- The parents’ financial position
- The child’s wishes
- The gender of the child
- The age of the child
- The relationships with other family members
These are just a few examples, but the court is going to go over everything to really try to make a decision that does put the child in the best possible position after the divorce. As you navigate this process with your children and your ex, make sure that you are well aware of your legal rights.