Divorce can be exceptionally hard on families with children, even if the parents don’t have to fight over custody. The emotional toll on both the parents and the children doubles if there is an intense custody battle.
Above everything else, the court will look at the best interests for the child. Sometimes this process is easy, but in a case with two loving parents, it can be difficult.
The factors for best interests
In order to look at the best interests of the child, the court will hear both parents’ cases and look at their ability to provide for the child. The parents should be able to prioritize the child’s security, happiness, mental health, and emotional development without much difficulty.
On a more individual level, the factors that determine the child’s best interests can vary from child to child. For example, a child with health or learning problems will need more attention and care than the average child. Because of this, the court might look at things like:
• The age and sex of the child
• How much interaction the child will have with their extended family
• How their school and community would change under a proposed custody agreement
• Religious or cultural influences
In some cases, the court might turn to the child and ask what they want. However, this is usually reserved for slightly older children and does not necessarily guarantee that they’ll get what they want.
Looking at the parents
The court will also closely examine the parents to determine their ability to provide for the child. They’ll look at things like history of drug abuse or domestic violence, how much time the parent spends at work, and even the people that the parents are hanging around.
Determining custody isn’t an easy decision for the court. But it’s always done with the best interests of the child in mind, and it’s up to the parents to show the courts why they should get custody.