Factors in Determining Child Custody

When they have children and are considering a divorce, the number one question clients want to know is, “Who will get custody?” Divorce is hard enough, but helping children adjust to their new normal makes it significantly harder. Although it’s hard to predict exactly how a judge will rule in any given situation, working with a child custody lawyer in Park Hills, MO can help the process go smoothly.

Your custody agreement will be based on a number of factors specific to your individual circumstance. The most important one, however, is determining what’s in the best interest of each child.

Factors to consider

Here are some of the factors a judge may consider when trying to determine your child’s best interest:

  • Age: For example, an exclusively breastfed infant will often remain with the mother, while a teenager may be allowed to choose who they stay with.
  • Work schedule: Who can best provide the level of care your child needs during the workweek? What are the childcare arrangements? Which parent has provided the majority of the care for the child?
  • Quality of relationship: How does each parent relate to the child, whether positively or negatively? Are the adults able to co-parent, or is it a contentious divorce? Does the child have a preference?
  • Distance: Will moving with one parent disrupt the child’s school and social activities? How often will they see the non-custodial parent?
  • Abuse or neglect: Is there a history of abuse or neglect from either parent? Have they left the child in dangerous situations with other relatives or friends? Does either parent have a criminal history?
  • Living situation: Where does each parent live, and what kind of home is it? Is there enough space for the children? Is it the home in which they were raised?

These questions and factors can help the judge determine what your child needs and who is best equipped to provide it.

What type of custody will best serve your child’s needs?

Custody doesn’t have to be an all or nothing experience, although it can be—particularly if one parent is deemed unfit or simply does not want to take their children into their home. There are two types of custody: physical and legal custody. Physical custody is the amount of time a parent has the child in their care overnight, while legal custody is the ability to make legal, medical, educational and religious decisions on behalf of the child.

This can play out in myriad ways. You might share 50/50 legal custody with your ex-spouse, but have an “every other weekend” physical custody arrangement. This would mean that your ex has an equal right to make certain important decisions on behalf of your child, but they only get the child overnight every other weekend.

Whatever the judge decides, it’s wise to get an attorney’s help with your custody agreements in Park Hills, MO. Reach out to Maynard & Joyce, LLC today to arrange a consultation. We have over two decades of experience and look forward to discussing your case.