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What courts look for in determining child custody

In the process of a divorce, one of the more complicated and important decisions to be made is regarding child custody. It is not uncommon for parents to have very different opinions regarding child custody decisions, which could lead to heated discussions and difficulties in coming up with a mutually agreeable solution.

When you are in the process of a divorce with children involved from the marriage, it is important to first understand the different types of child custody that may be awarded. In most cases, one parent, generally the primary caretaker, will receive physical custody of the child, while the non-custodial parent will be granted visitation rights, which will also be established by the courts.

If a couple is able to show a willingness to work together, joint custody may also be granted, allowing each parent to spend close to an equal amount of time with the child or children. There are also instances where sole custody may be granted. This generally happens if one parent is unfit to care for a child, such as a history of drug or alcohol abuse, a criminal record or a history of domestic violence.

As we have stated before, the court's primary concern is protecting the best interests of the child. It may be in your best interest to enter a divorce with a strong grasp of the potential legal issues to help prove to the judge that your wishes are in the best interests of the child. By doing so, you may maximize the potential of a child custody decision being granted in your favor.

Source:, "Custody Considerations: Step-By-Step," Accessed May 8, 2017

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