Child custody can be a sensitive issue for many divorcing couples. Several factors are used to determine child custody and knowing what those are can help provide for a smoother child custody process for the divorcing couple and their family.
Child custody factors used to determine child custody
Several factors are used to help determine child custody including:
- The age of the child;
- The health of the child;
- The emotional ties between either parent and the child;
- The ability of the parents to care for the child emotionally, physically and financially;
- Any history of family violence or substance abuse; and
- The child’s ties to school, home and their community.
It is important for divorcing parents to understand that both legal and physical custody of their child will have to be determined. This means that as part of the child custody process, which parent the child will live with has to be determined and which parent will make important decisions for the child also has to be determined. Both physical and legal custody can be shared jointly or can be sole. If one parent has custody of the child, the other parent typically will have visitation rights with the child.
What is in the best interests of the child is always the guiding factor in child custody determinations but child custody factors are used to determine what child custody arrangement would be best for the child. For that reason, it is helpful for divorcing parents to be familiar with how child custody is determined.