In nearly all instances of a custody case, the court considers the best interest of the child and takes decisions keeping in mind the following factors.
- The ability to take care of the financial needs of the child including food, medical needs, shelter and clothing
- The medical history of the parent
- The age of the child, sex and medical history.
- A parent’s career and lifestyle like alcohol abuse and smoking
- The decision of the child if the child is up to 12 years of age
- The attachment between the parent and the child
- The desires of the two parents
- The eagerness of each parent to give room to the relationship of the child with the other parent.
- How the child will adapt in a new environment.
- The quality of life the child enjoys in the present situation.
- The presence of any false or malicious charges of child abuse on the other parent.
1. Does moving out of the home affect my chances of getting the custody?
Yes, if you leave your home even for good reasons, it may affect your chances of getting custody of the children in court. However, if you take the children while leaving, it may send a message to the judge that you are trying to protect your children. In this case you must try to report to the court as soon as you move so that the court will not judge you for eloping with the children illegally.
2. Who between among the parents has a better chance at getting the custody?
Currently the court awards the custody of a child to the parent who represents the best interest of a child. However, in the past, custody of young children below 5 years old usually goes to the mother in divorce cases.
3. Is custody always awarded to just one parent?
No, the court sometimes awards partial or shared custody to both parents, also known as joint custody. There are 3 types of custody arrangement usually granted: joint physical custody, joint legal custody, and lastly a combination of joint physical and legal custody.
4. Does my being gay or lesbian affect my child’s visitation rights?
Some states explicitly forbid a judge from judging child’s custody matters based on the sexual orientations of the parents. These states judge cases based on the best interests of the child. But in other states where such law does not exist, your sexual orientation may influence your chances in child custody issues.
5. Do judges or courts discriminate based on racial grounds?
Courts are forbidden from considering race as a factor in child custody decisions.
6. Who decides how much child visitation is fair and realistic?
The parent with primary custodial rights over a child decides what visitation right the other parent has.
A few courts currently allow parents to draft custody and visitation plans that the judge will sign into law.