When you think divorce is the end of your marital woes, remember there are child custody decisions to resolve. Making important decisions regarding the child’s welfare is important yet difficult task parents have to do after a divorce. When parents cannot come to an agreement, child custody hearings help determine which parent makes the principal decisions for the child.
Unfortunately, most divorces involving children result in court battles. Worse still is when parents in the custody case cannot agree on what’s in the child’s best interest. A California child custody attorney notes that in the end, the court helps you decide which parent gets sole custody and who gets visitation rights.
What Are the Factors That Courts Consider When Making Child Custody Decisions?
The worst thing you can do is play your partner against your child to influence custody decisions. Despite your divorce circumstances, handling child custody battles with respect and dignity will help you save face in the long run. The court is trying to rule in the best interest of your child. Managing expectations and respecting the outcome can help you cope with a difficult situation.
Although child custody decisions vary from state to state, there are several factors that courts consider when arriving at the decision:
1. Living and Financial Condition of the Parent
The living expenses of the child after divorce require the financial wellness of a parent. The court will assess to determine which parent is financially reliable to take care of the child. With a good financial status, the parent can provide a comfortable home for the child to grow.
Despite the financial and living conditions, the court also ensures little or no disruption to the child’s routine. In connection to this, the court considers how close the home is to other relatives’ homes before making the custody decision.
2. Relationship Between the Parent and the Child
Having a positive relationship with your child is paramount, regardless of your marriage situation. The court will assess the relationship with your child and decide whether it is healthy enough for custody or visitation rights. A social worker will help assess the quality of your relationship and present their findings to the court.
Regardless of the divorce, do not put the other parent against the child to look like the better parent. Remember, you will still be parenting together, and the child needs to have a good relationship with both parents.
3. The Mental and Physical Wellbeing of the Parent
You cannot pour from an empty cup. When you are in excellent health, you can take care of your child. If you are suffering from a condition that makes it difficult to take care of the child, the court is less likely to rule in your favor.
Ensure you are also in a good mental position. Conditions such as depression, anxiety, and uncontrolled anger interfere with your mental capacity, reducing your custodial chances.
4. Your Readiness to Work with Each Other as Parents
After signing divorce papers, you may feel relieved from the toxic relationship. It may prompt you to avoid any contact with your ex. Unfortunately, child custody requires that both parents work together to provide for the child.
You will need to put aside your differences and acknowledge that each parent is important for the child’s welfare. With this in mind, you stand a greater chance at sole custody during the hearings.
5. The Safety of the Child’s Environment
Although you are financially able and provide good living conditions, the child needs to feel safe living with you. When the court determines you have a history of domestic violence, you are considered a threat to the child’s safety, which ruins your chances in a custody battle.
Child Custody Is for the Good of the Child
A divorce may be a painful experience, but having to take care of your child afterward shouldn’t. The child should never be made to feel they are responsible for the divorce. Although the legal process can feel demoralizing, it would be best if you looked at what’s good for the child.