Child custody matters are probably the most heated debate during the divorce.
Unfortunately many times the parents fight over children, using them as pawns, and fail to realize how the divorce has affected the child. The court will review all matters with the best interest of the child in mind.
When determining the best interest of the child, the court will scrutinize the parents by looking at various factors such as the parents character, living conditions, the surrounding characteristics of the family, and habits.
The court will also make sure to scrutinize important factors such as safety, health, general welfare of the children, and happiness of the children. There are other many factors that the court will scrutinize before the entry of an order for child custody.
Those factors are often
- The parents’ ability to communicate and cooperate in children matters;
- The parents’ willingness to accept custody
- Interactional with parents and siblings
- Domestic violence and abuse
- Children safety
- Child preference
- Age and capacity of the child
- Particular child needs
- Home stability or living environment
- Child opportunity relating to continued education
- Parent fitness
- Location of the parents’ homes
- Parent’s financial stability and employment
“Physical custody” refers to the physical arrangement between a parent and child defining where the child lives.
“Legal custody” defines a parent’s legal authority to make decisions regarding a child’s health, education and welfare.
If the parents cannot come to a mutually agreeable definition of physical or legal custody, a court will determine the custodial arrangement it sees to be in the best interest of the child.
There are also various types of custody that can be awarded by the court such as: joint custody, sole custody with one parent having physical custody, sole custody with both parents having physical custody. In most situations, the other parent will then have defined parenting time.
While the courts favor equal joint and physical custody, the court must determine if it is in the best interest of the child. In determining equal joint and physical custody the court will primarily look at whether the parents can agree, cooperate and communicate in a way that is in the best interest of the child.
The Mark Law Firm represents both fathers and mothers in matters of child custody. These issues can be very complex and very challenging, and you need a thorough, experienced and aggressive attorney on your side. Contact us now, or call us at 908-375-6767 for your consultation.