When both parents are seeking primary child custody, what factors will a court consider?
An attorney that focuses on divorce and child custody law knows that the applicable legal standard is the best interest of the child. However, decisions based on that standard cannot be generalized into a formula. Rather, each case is unique, with lifestyle factors unique to each family.
One common theme in such determinations, however, is hearing testimony from each parent and child. If a court deems a child old enough to express an opinion, it may want to hear whether the child has any preferences for living with one parent or in one location. The court may also want to hear about the environment that each parent would provide for a child, if awarded custody.
Yet even if custody is not jointly awarded, the non-custodial parent is usually awarded a visitation schedule. In fact, many family law courts prefer a parenting arrangement that is equal, regardless of which parent the child resides with for purposes of legal custody. Under a 50-50 parenting arrangement, a child would divide his or her time evenly between parents.
Given that trend, an attorney might advise parents going through a divorce to cooperate as much as possible. Such efforts will be rewarded after the divorce, when parents will have to cooperate to make parenting arrangements work. A shared parenting arrangement may require creativity in planning around busy schedules, and a cooperative attitude can go a long way toward smoothing the process. Leave the negotiating to your child custody and support lawyer. A lawyer can work to protect your interests if cooperation fails.
Source: Huffington Post, “The 18 Best Things You Can Do For Your Kids After Divorce,” Brittany Wong, Feb. 17, 2015