Child custody and visitation can be emotional topics during divorce. Certain guidelines are used to make child custody determinations. Parents going through the divorce process, and concerned about child custody, should be familiar with child custody factors used to determine custody.
Child custody factors
Child custody factors are used to determine what child custody arrangement is in the child's best interests. Child custody factors used to make child custody decisions include:
- The ability of the parents to communicate, cooperate and agree concerning the child;
- The willingness of the parents to accept custody and any history of unwillingness to allow parenting time that was not based on substance abuse concerns;
- The relationship and interaction between the child and its parents and siblings;
- The age of the child and the ages of the child's siblings;
- The safety of the child;
- Any history of domestic violence and the safety of either parent from physical abuse perpetrated by the other parent;
- The preference of the child based on the child's age and maturity;
- The proximity of the homes of the parents;
- The stability of the home environment offered;
- The quality and continuity of the child's education;
- The fitness of both of the parents;
- The extent and quality of time spent with the child by each parent both before and after the parents' separation;
- The employment responsibilities of the parents; and
- The needs of the child.
The family law court is not limited to these factors but they provide a good idea for divorcing parents to understand how child custody is determined. Child custody factors can help divorcing parents and the family law court arrive at a child custody decision that is best for the child which is why divorcing parents should be familiar with what they are.