There are many misconceptions about child custody determinations ranging from mothers receiving preferential treatment to the courts automatically mandating an even split of custodial time. The truth is that every custody case is unique and there are no automatic rulings. The courts consider a variety of factors to determine the ideal custody situation.
Understanding what the court considers may help you understand your potential custody ruling.
If one parent serves as the primary caregiver, has a stronger and closer bond with the child or shows more experience and understanding of any special needs, that relationship factors into the custody determination. Awarding primary custody to that parent reduces the emotional upheaval and trauma for the child.
The courts also consider each parent’s capabilities. If one parent lacks the parenting skills or necessary time to commit to raising the children full-time, the other parent may receive primary custody. Children need a capable, supportive and stable environment.
The relationships between siblings also factor into the ruling. When a child has established bonds with siblings, judges often try to preserve those relationships. Awarding primary custody in a way that keeps all of the siblings together helps reduce isolation issues and fosters stronger relationships.
When children are old enough, judges often ask for feedback about which parent the child wishes to live with. While the child’s preference does not automatically guarantee a ruling, it can contribute to the decision.
Misconceptions about custody rulings can be troubling. These are important facts to consider before you go to court.