If two spouses going through a divorce cannot amicably reach a decision concerning child custody, then it will go to the court. A judge will need to determine what is ultimately in the best interest of the child. There are a few factors to help the judge reach a conclusion.
Requests of the Kid
Most judges will outright ask children what their preferences are as long as they are at least 12 years old. The child may prefer joint custody or just want to live with one parent. However, judges will typically ask why a child has the preference he or she has.
Judges will also want to keep things the same as much as possible. This is done for the well-being of the child because divorces can get messy and be truly emotional for everyone involved. Child custody may be awarded to solely one parent if the other will be moving to a different city. Keeping the kid in the same city and same school district is always preferable.
Presence of Abuse
This is a big factor to be considered. If one parent has a history of physical or emotional abuse, then a judge will want to keep children away from that environment. Additionally, a parent who abuses alcohol or is heavily involved with drugs will likely not acquire custody.
Amenability With Child Support
One parent may be required to pay child support even if he or she is not the primary caretaker. A judge will generally find it strange if a parent is failing in the responsibility to pay support yet is trying to gain custody. This could end up being a key factor if a judge is undecided on which way to lean.
Ultimately, the judge and spouses just want to do what is best for the child. Hopefully child custody can be determined in a mature, professional manner, and everyone can get through this time all right.
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