Going through a divorce can be a very scary time, especially if a custody battle is involved. Most of the time the custodial parent is determined by the court, based on the child’s best interest. The court may consider many factors when determining the child’s best interest.
Here are the top 5 factors that the court considers
- Primary caretaker. The parent that is considered the primary caretaker is more likely to become the custodial parent. The court will consider who was more involved in the child’s life before the divorce and which parent spent the most time with the child.
- Stability and consistency. If you moved out of your home at any time during the divorce process and left your spouse with your child, you may be less likely to get custody. The court will make the destination partially based on which parent consistently provided for the child.
- Place of residence. In most cases, keeping the child’s life as normal as possible is best. This means that whichever parent can keep the child at the school they attend, may have the advantage.
- Financial security. To be the best option for your child you must be financially stable. If you are unable to provide a secure home for your child, it may impact your chance of becoming the custodial parent.
- Child’s preference. Depending on how old your child is, the court may heavily weigh its decision based on the child’s preference. However, the court will ask the child why they would like to live with one parent over the other. If the child chooses a parent because of a lack of discipline, the court will not base its ruling on the child’s preference.
In most cases, one parent will be deemed the custodial parent and therefore has more custodial rights and responsibilities than the other parent. There are some cases in which both parents are given joint custody of the child.
Joint custody is shared guardianship and care of your child between you and your ex-partner. Both parents have an equal role as custodial parents. Neither one of you has more physical or legal custody over the child—your child is your shared responsibility.