Child custody is an important topic of concern for many families going through the divorce process. It is beneficial for parents setting up a child custody arrangement to be familiar the factors used to determine the best child custody arrangement.
What factors are child custody decisions based on?
Child custody is based on a determination of what is in the best interests of the child. Factors child custody is based on include:
- Child care arrangements
- Primary caretaker
- Educational opportunities
- Conditions of the home environment
- Where the child’s siblings live
- Mental health of the parents
- Physical health of the parents
- Finances of the parents
- Drugs and alcohol
- Spousal abuse
- Abuse, abandonment, neglect or interference with visitation rights
Child custody determinations are made based on a totality of the factors. Child custody is divided into legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the decision-making responsibilities for the child and physical custody refers to where the child resides. Both types of child custody can be joint or sole custody. This means that legal and physical custody of the child can be shared or one parent may enjoy legal or physical custody of the child.
The family law court’s overall observations of the parents will also be taken into account when arriving at a child custody arrangement. The court may also consider any other factors it deems relevant to reaching a child custody arrangement that best serves the needs and interests of the child. The family law will balance the ability of each parent to meet the needs of the child.