Determining the best interests of the child

Parent Holds The Hand Of A Small ChildIn custody cases, judges will look into the “best interest of the child” standard before granting custody to one parent. Although this has been criticized for being subjective, there are a number of main factors that are considered by every judge.

The child’s age – Often a younger child will be placed with their mother. This is especially true if the child in nursing etc. unless there are serious conditions like a mother’s drug use.

The child’s preference – A child around the age of 12, will often be asked who they prefer to live with. Some judges do not like to ask children about their preference, as this may not be in the best interests of the child. Therefore, in some cases, a custody evaluator is used to ascertain a child’s preference.

Each parent’s living situation – In most cases, a child will maintain stability in their family home. The distance to the ex-spouse’s home will also be a factor to increase or decrease visitation rights.

Relationship with children prior to divorce – If a parent works long hours or travels often, they would be less likely to be granted custody of a child. In some cases, the more cooperative parent in the custody dispute has been granted custody rights.

Abuse or Neglect – If any of the parents have evidence against him or her in relation to abuse or neglect, a judge will grant less contact with the children.