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What parental factors affect child custody?

During a divorce, the family court often considers the child's best interest when determining child custody. While the best interest model is the most commonly used method to determine child custody, it only accounts for half of the equation. In addition to the best interest of a child, the family court considers parental factors as well. Staying informed of what parental factors can affect child custody may help divorcing parents better prepare themselves for a family court's questions and considerations.

The opinion of older children may be taken into account by the family court when considering child custody. However, regardless of a child's wishes, the family court must weigh important parental factors before awarding child custody. The family court may question how active and involved each parent is before making a determination. If a parent has shown limited interest in their child's upbringing, the possibility of them being awarded custody may be slim.

The family court may also consider aspects of a parent's emotional, social, physical and financial stability when determining child custody. If the family court has concerns about one parent in any of these areas, their custody may be at risk. Likewise, if either parent is unable to co-parent in a cooperative and civil manner with their child's other parent, this too may impact their request for custody.

Although the family court may not set a geographic boundary for parents, they may use each parent's geographic residence as a tool for determining custody. Typically, in divorces where this issue has not been addressed, the geographic location and ability of each parent to encourage and support a relationship between their child and the other parent is taken into consideration.

Parents concerned with how these aspects may affect their request for custody may benefit by speaking to an experienced family law attorney. With their help, these concerns can be addressed and an effective case can be made to help support their request for child custody.

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Goddard & Malmquist
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