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What factors go into determining child custody?

If you are currently going through a divorce, you know first-hand how extremely overwhelming the process can be. Not only are there a host of issues to negotiate, but there are often strong emotions involved when terminating a marriage. One of the most difficult tasks to tackle during the procedures is that of child custody. While every situation has unique circumstances, decisions must be made keeping the best interests of the children in mind. What does the judge look at when determining what type of custody is best for the child?

One of the biggest factors the judge may consider involves which parent acted as the primary caretaker during the marriage. In many cases, one parent may have spent more time with the children, taking them to school, being involved in extracurricular activities and caring for them on a daily basis.

The judge may also take into consideration where the child will live if they are put in the custody of either parent. For instance, the neighborhood, school district and overall safety of the area may affect the judge’s decision as to whether it is the best environment for the child. Other factors may come into play, including the following:

  • The career and earning potential of each parent
  • The mental and physical health of each parent
  • How far apart the parents live from one another

In some cases, the judge may ask the child his or her preference in which parent they would like to live with. However, most decisions are based on what is deemed best for the child.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.

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