Child Custody: Factors that Influence the Judge’s Decision

Child custody cases are among the hardest to predict, particularly if both parents have a fair argument of why they should get custody. But at the end of the day, a child custody decision lies in the court.

As your child custody attorney in Salt Lake City may tell you, the court bases its decision on various factors that are seen to be of the best interests of the child in question. That said, if you are having a child custody dispute with your spouse, it is essential you understand what these best interests are.

Here are factors that may significantly influence your child custody case:

Physical and Mental Health of the Parents

The mental health of both parents must be considered before a court decides who gets the custody of their child. If one parent has problems with anger management, he or she is unlikely to win custody.

Additionally, a parent must be in perfect physical health condition and strong enough to attend to the daily requirements of the child comfortably. If you are suffering from a condition that makes it impossible for you to care for your child, or you live with other people whose mental or physical health is questionable, chances are you won’t secure custody.

Work Demands of the Parents

Mother working while taking care of her sonThis is another crucial factor that significantly affects who gets the primary custody of the child. While financial stability of parents cannot be ignored, the court expects a custodial parent to attend to the child’s developmental and psychological requirements. As such, the court must consider how much time each parent can spend with his or her child. Parents with tight work schedules may compete poorly against their stay-at-home counterparts who have more time to be with the child.

Child Preference

Partly, child custody cases are influenced by the child’s parental preference. However, there is no specific law outlining how the child’s preferences influence the decision of the court. Depending on the state where you live, the court may decide to conduct a confidential interview with your child to know their opinion. To make it easy for the child to understand and respond, the tone of the interviewer will be less formal. In other states, the judge may task a qualified custody evaluator to do the interview. The thoughts of the child are likely to influence custody case if he or she is at least 14 years old.

It can be difficult to predetermine how a child case will be closed. But most of the time, the court gives custody to both parents under joint custody arrangements. The court then allows the parents to work out a reasonable schedule depending on their housing arrangement and their work obligations.

Joint custody gives the child a chance to be with both parents in a healthy environment. However, sole custody may be granted in instances where one parent is considered a threat. This happens if the parent has a substance abuse issue, is violent, or has behaviors that threaten the well-being of a child.

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