Child custody is another area of family law that takes into account the best interests of each individual in the family. It is a complicated issue, as both the children and the parents often have strong emotions concerning the outcome of a custody case. It’s also complicated because it can be extremely difficult for the state to fairly determine who is best fit to have child custody.

Gender Bias in Custody Cases

Many people feel that child custody cases are extremely slanted in favor of the mother, which can be a negative looming thought for a father. Men may feel as though they’re going into a case that’s already decided against their favor. Thankfully, the statistics paint a different story:

  • In 51% of custody cases, both parents agreed — on their own — that mom become the custodial parent.
  • In 29% of custody cases, the decision was made without any third party involvement.
  • In 11% of custody cases, the decision for mom to have custody was made during the mediation process and not in the court.
  • In 5% of custody cases, the issue was resolved after a custody evaluation.
  • Only 4% of custody cases went to trial and, of that 4%, only 1.5% completed custody litigation.

Any concerned parent wants to make sure that they have a fair chance of providing for their children. While many people imagine child custody cases as taking place in the courtroom, the reality is that a lot of them can be settled when the two parents simply talk it out with their lawyers present.

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Factors That Influence Custody Outcomes

The idea of fighting it out with your ex-spouse to determine who should have custody of the children is a daunting thought for many people. But again, this difficult issue is often settled without the interference of the court.

It may be helpful to know, in cases where judges are evaluating the custody situation for your children, what factors are commonly weighed in order to reach a decision. The following can help a judge (or you and your ex-spouse during mediation) take your children’s best interests into account:

  • The age of the children. Many judges believe that younger children should live with their mothers, especially if the mother was the primary caregiver for their early childhood.
  • Each parent’s living situation. Factors that come into play here may include: who (if either) of the parents will continue living in the family’s home, the proximity of the home to your ex-spouse’s, and the proximity of the home to the children’s school and social activities.
  • Each parent’s willingness to support the other’s relationship with the children. The judge will evaluate your record of cooperating with one another about the parenting schedule. The more cooperative a parent is, the more likely they are to earn custody.

These are just a few of the factors involved, but others include each parent’s relationship with the children before the divorce, the children’s preferences, and the continuity and stability of each parent.

You don’t have to wait for this case to go to court to reach a decision. Taking an honest look at the factors above can help you and your ex-spouse, with the help of your lawyers, figure out an arrangement that works for both of you.

Dissolution Attorney in Cleveland, OH

Attorney Sherry Naegele has been practicing law in the state of Ohio since 2000. Her practice encompasses all areas of family law, and her experience and compassion can help you through life’s most difficult situations. Contact her today to get started.