Top Factors That Are Evaluated by the Courts When Settling Custody Disputes

Law Blog

When you are dealing with a custody disagreement, it can be a very trying time emotionally. The wellbeing of your child is at stake when agreements about custody and visitation can't be made between both parties. Entering a legal battle for custody rights can be a scary proposition because the judge presiding over the case is the one with the final decision. Hiring a solicitor familiar with custody law is the first step that you should take when you find yourself in a custody dispute, but it is also essential that you learn what the most important factors are that are used by the judge to evaluate custody rights.

Caretaker

The court is going to carefully consider the parent that is responsible for the primary care. This means that past behavior and the custody arrangement that has been in place in the past will be taken into consideration. If there is one parent that has been predominantly responsible for care of the child in the past, this is the parent that is known for caring for the child's basic needs. The primary caretaker is often the one that is considered for primary custody. This means that playing an active role in the daily activities of your child is the best way to obtain primary custody.

Child

Depending on the age of the child, the wishes of the child are also taken into consideration to a degree. Older children have the ability to have their preference taken more seriously by the courts, but children have the ability to indicate to the court through a child representative the parent that they want to live with primarily. Even though the judge is making the final ruling, the child does have a say in the final decision to some degree.

History

Any past incidents of neglect or abuse are also serious factors in custody disputes. If one or more parents have a history with neglect or abuse, this is something that the judge will use to limit custody. If both parents are viewed as unfit by the courts, the child might even be placed into foster care. Once you come to the court with a custody dispute, the court has the duty to rule in the best interest of the child, which means that the parents no longer have final say on custody issues. Any past incidents that are on record or can be proven in court can work against parents trying to retain custody.

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