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How Does a Judge Determine Child Custody?

How Does a Judge Determine Child Custody?

Child custody is a heavily contested and sensitive issue for families. Although both parents want what is best for their children, the court has its own guidelines when it comes to determining what supports a child’s best interests. When determining child custody, a judge will examine these many factors and ultimately decide on an arrangement. Generally, family courts believe that both parents should remain involved in a child’s life, but that does not necessarily mean both parents will share an equal amount of time with the child.

What Are a Child’s Best Interests?

Judges have a lot of discretion when it comes to determining what type of child custody arrangement meets a child’s best interests. However, they commonly examine very specific factors when rendering this crucial decision.

Below is a list of some of those factors:

  • One of the biggest priorities in a child custody case is choosing an arrangement that provides the most stability for a child. As such, judges are reluctant to remove a child from the family home, especially if it may lead to a change of school and the prospect of having to make all new friends.
  • If one parent has more time to care for the child or has access to better child care, this will also be considered. A judge wants to make sure the child is well cared for, so even if your work schedule is busy, make sure you can provide appropriate care for your child.
  • In many cases, one parent is the primary caregiver of a child. If you fulfilled this role, it is a fact that may work to your advantage.
  • Another major factor the court will consider is whether you or your spouse has a history with substance abuse. A history of physical abuse and neglect will also weight heavily on a judge’s decision.

Other important factors involved in child custody include the financial situation of each parent, conditions in the home, the physical and mental health of each parent, and educational opportunities. In some cases, a judge may consider a child’s preference if the child is mature enough.

Reach Out to Our Compassionate Family Law Team for a Consultation Today!

If you are faced with a child custody dispute, turn to the team at Friedman & Friedman PLLC, Attorneys at Law for compassionate legal guidance and knowledgeable legal representation. Backed by more than 90 years of collective legal experience, you can rest assured that our team is prepared to take on your case.

Call our law office today at (516) 688-0088 to request a consultation with a member of our legal team.

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