When it comes to custody, you will hear that the courts decide based on what is best for the child. But, how does a judge that doesn’t know your child determine what is in their best interest? There are certain factors all judges use to determine the best interests of the child—and it is important you not only know what these are, but understand how they play a critical role in custody determinations.
If you are ever unsure about your parental rights, speak with your family law attorney in Miami FL right away. Your attorney will advise you about the custody process and help you build your case for the judge.
What Factors Does a Judge Use for Custody?
There are several factors a judge will use when determining custody, which include:
- The age of the children. Some judges believe that younger children should remain with their mothers—especially if the mother has served as the primary caregiver for the child.
- The living situation for each parent post-divorce. Courts will consider the living situation of each parent and how that will be after divorce. Often the parent living in the family home will be granted custody of the children, because it will be more stable and continues the lifestyle the children are accustomed to. If one parent is living with a friend for a short amount of time, then they may only be granted visitation since they cannot accommodate a child reasonably overnight.
- The parents’ willingness to support a stable relationship. Despite how much you despise your former spouse, you are still responsible for fostering the relationship between your child and the other parent. The courts will consider how willing you are to do that. If you are trying to alienate your child from the other parent, then the court may not look too kindly upon that type of interference.
- The relationship with the child prior to the divorce. If one parent rarely spent time with their children prior to the divorce, the judge may only grantthem visitation rather than custody. The courts want to maintain relationships, but they will not grant full custody to a parent that was never around in the first place.
- What the child prefers. Children who are at least 12 years of age may decide which parent they prefer to live with.
- Most importantly, courts want the child to have a stable life regardless if their parents are divorcing. Therefore, judges will opt for the custody arrangement that keeps the child’s life as stable as possible – meaning they will not opt for the parent that requires the child to move long distances, change schools, etc. unless there is a justified reason for doing so.
Speak with a Miami Divorce Lawyer Regarding Your Custody Today
If you are going through a custody dispute or about to engage in one, retain the services of the Law Offices of Aliette H. Carolan today. Call our offices in Coral Gables, FL today at (305)-358-2330.