When a couple gets divorced and cannot agree on a custody solution, the court will have to make a determination. The court may order them to share custody, forcing them to compromise moving forward.
To make these types of major decisions, which are going to have a huge impact on both the children and the parents affected, the court will consider numerous different factors. Every case is unique. But it can still help to know some of the common factors that a court is going to consider in the event of a contested child custody matter.
10 common examples
As the court gathers evidence, here are 10 different areas that it is going to consider to decide how custody should be divided or shared between fit parents:
- The quality of the relationships between both parents and their children.
- The children’s mental and physical health.
- The parents’ mental and physical health.
- What the child wants, if they’re old enough to understand and express a preference.
- The ability the parents have to care for the children, providing them with necessities like food and shelter or medical care.
- Any evidence of neglect, abuse or even domestic violence.
- Where the child will live and how connected they are to the neighborhood, their home and things of this nature.
- Where the child goes to school and if that would have to change due to the custody arrangement.
- Any existing relationships with extended family members.
- If the child has any special needs that have to be met.
Remember that the court may have to make some compromises. The child may say that they want to live with one parent, for example, but the court may determine that it would actually be better for them to split their time with each parent. Another example could be that parents may want to share custody, but one may travel so often for work that the court believes it is better to give sole physical custody to one parent and allow the other to have parenting time when they come home.
These are just examples, as each case is unique. It’s important for everyone who is involved in a child custody dispute to know exactly what options they have available, as navigating a child custody matter generally requires personalized legal feedback.