If you're a parent who is planning or going through a divorce, you likely have many questions and concerns about your child's wellbeing. This is often especially true if you and a soon-to-be ex-spouse are embroiled in a contentious divorce and aren't able to come to an agreement about child custody and visitation matters.
If you and a spouse cannot resolve child custody issues on your own or with the assistance of your attorneys or a mediator, a judge will step in. In divorce cases involving child custody disputes, it's important to understand how the courts make decisions as well as what you can do to improve your chances of securing a favorable custody decision.
Factors a judge considers when making child custody decisions
Ultimately, a family law judge will make decisions related to child custody and visitation based upon what he or she believes is in a child's best interests. A judge will take numerous factors into consideration including a child's age, his or her relationship with each parent and a child's emotional needs.
How parents can positively affect child custody decisions
For parents who wish to obtain primary physical and/or legal custody of a child, it's important to reach out to a seasoned attorney for help. An attorney will represent a parent in court and present specific examples that highlight his or her primary caretaker responsibilities and demonstrate the crucial role that a parent plays in a child's life. Specific examples that an attorney may reference include:
- Planning and preparing meals
- Assisting with bathing, grooming and dressing
- Making and accompanying a child to medical and dental appointments
- Helping with homework
- Attending and being involved in school-related activities and events
- Encouraging involvement in and attending extracurricular and sports activities
Today, many family law judges seek to make child custody and visitation decisions that afford a child time with both parents. In cases where a parent is concerned about a child's safety, an attorney will work to present convincing evidence to support such concerns in court and fight to ensure that a child's best interests are truly being served.