3 lesser-known factors judges consider in child custody hearings
Change can be hard for kids, especially during divorce. It can leave many feeling sad, disoriented and even guilty. Judges understand the harmful psychological impact divorce can have on a child. That’s why many try to keep their best interests in mind during custody disputes. But what do children’s best interests entail?
It often depends on the family dynamics and parental responsibility. But it can get more complicated than that. If the divorce remains contentious or custody arrangements aren’t already stated in a prenup, judges can make the decision.
Court considerations during child custody
While children can have a say in who their primary caretaker is, some haven’t fully developed their decision-making skills or would prefer their parents to stay together. Because of this, judges often look at more than just a parent’s ability to care for their child. These are other factors they may take into consideration:
- Routine and environment: Some parents may choose to move far apart from one another after separating. If the child has a vested interest in their community like school, friends or extracurricular activities, the judge may give custody to the parent who plans to remain close to home.
- Safety: Some couples can lose much of their earning power after splitting. Sadly, the lower-earning spouse may have to move to an area with higher crime rates or a home with environmental defects. If that’s the case, a judge may choose to give custody to the parent that can provide a more secure living space.
- The children’s age: Even if both parents are emotionally and financially stable, courts may still look at their ability to care for children at certain ages. For instance, if the children are very young, they may require more hands-on attention. If one parent has a job that demands long hours or frequent travel, the judge may give custody to the parent with a more flexible schedule.
Proving you have what it takes
Divorce comes with many obstacles. And while child custody hearings can feel like a never-ending battle, demonstrating the care, responsibility and compassion you have for your children can help strengthen your case in front of a judge.