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What factors do courts consider for custody and visitation?

Filing for divorce is difficult enough. It becomes substantially harder when the couple shares children and they must go through the process of determining child custody

Unless extenuating circumstances are present that would warrant one parent having sole custody, the court will need to decide what living arrangement is best for the child. It is possible for both parents to come together to create their own parenting arrangement. It will still need to go in front of a judge for approval, but it could be the best way to ensure everyone gets what they want. 

What judges look at

It is possible the court will consider the child's wishes as long as he or she is old enough. The judge will also need to consider the maturity of the child to determine whether he or she is capable of speaking rationally about his or her own best interest. Aside from that, no individual factors hold any weight over others. The judge must look at all the evidence and consider all the following factors equally when coming up with a custody arrangement. 

  • What sort of relationship does each parent have with the child?
  • Is each parent playing an active role in the child's life?
  • What are the child's temperament and needs?
  • Does each parent even want custody in the first place?
  • Does each parent have a stable living situation?
  • Will each parent actively encourage a good relationship between the child and the other parent?
  • Does each parent understand the child's needs?

For both parents, it is easy to look out for their own individual interest in a divorce. That can help to an extent when determining alimony and asset distribution. However, when it comes to raising children, it is generally for the best for the child to have a relationship with both parents. It is a tumultuous time for your kids, and you should do everything in your power to ensure they receive the best care possible. 

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