What Do Courts Consider in Determining Child Custody?
Child custody can be the touchiest issue in an impending divorce or separation. It is often difficult for two separating spouses to come to a cooperative agreement regarding custody issues, and thus the question of with whom will children life can fall to a judge. What do courts consider when they attempt to navigate the sticky problem of dividing one child between two parents? Here are some of the factors courts generally consider:
When it comes to the parents, courts consider a variety of factors. Obviously, the court will consider clear evidence that either parent has abused or neglected the children and will correspondingly limit that parent’s contact with the kids. The court may look into the record of you and your spouse being willing to cooperate with regards to parenting schedules, whether each parent helps the children to maintain a relationship with the other parent, whether one parent had a stronger relationship with the children than the other during the life of the spousal relationship and during the separation period, and how living with each parent may affect the children’s sense of continuity or stability.
About the Kids
The court’s evaluation in a custody decision won’t stop with just the parents. The judge may also look into the child’s or children’s background in order to make a more informed choice. In the state of Florida, the judge is permitted to consider the preference of the child at any age at which the judge considers it reasonable to do so. Children’s preferences in custody cases have been considered in Florida even when the child was only 11 years old. Judges will also consider the ages of the children, with some judges tending to grant custody of very young children to mothers as a matter of principle. They may additionally consider any special needs the children have, the quality of life and education each child is accustomed to and each parent will be able to provide, and whether the child has formed particularly strong emotional bonds with one parent over the other.
Working through issues of child custody can be sensitive and emotional. At play are issues of love and trust between parents and children, legal obligations to one’s offspring, cooperation between ex-spouses, and the valuation of complex, abstract considerations like standards of living and relationship bonds. If you’re involved in a divorce or separation and are considering child custody arrangements, the assistance of an attorney can be incredibly important. If you’re attempting to work through a custody arrangement, discuss your options by seeking reliable and experienced assistance. Contact an experienced Boca Raton family attorney at Schwartz l White at 561-391-9943 today for a consultation.