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.