While couples going through a divorce likely have a number of disagreements, both parents can usually agree that they still want to raise their children. Therefore, most parents want to retain custody of their children throughout divorce proceedings.
When a parent is preparing to go to court seeking to win a custody dispute, there are a number of factors that the parent should keep in mind. These are all factors that the judge will take into consideration when deciding which parents to award custody to.
Which Parent is Fit to Raise a Child?
While this could seem like a difficult question to answer, there may be some circumstances on the divorce that could make this question an easy one. For example, if one of the parents isn't mentally capable of raising children due to either a disability or a traumatic accident, custody will be awarded to the mentally fit parent.
Furthermore, some parents struggle with drinking, drugs, or tobacco. Finally, any ongoing legal disputes or criminal record will also play a big role in the divorce proceedings. These are all important social circumstances that will be taken into consideration before the judge makes a decision. The judge is looking for the best environment for raising children.
In the interest of disrupting the lives of the children as little as possible, the judge is going to consider the geographical locations of the parents if they have already separated. The whole goal is to minimize the commute to and from school and extracurricular activities for the children. The judge will consider the distance from each parent's home to school, sports practices, music practices, and their friends' houses. If one parent clearly lives over an hour away from all of these destinations while the other parent lives within a couple miles of all of these locations, that parent is more likely to win the custody dispute. Living closer to the various frequent destinations of the kids is a benefit.
What is the Relationship of Each Child with the Parents?
The most important factor the judge is going to consider is the relationship of each parent with the children. The thinking is that time is the most valuable resource and the kids should be placed with the parent who will make time for them. The judge will consider which parent goes to parent-teacher conferences, which parent shows up for sporting events, which parent helps the kids with their homework, and which parent knows the friends of the kids. The parent who has been more involved in the lives of their children is more likely to win a custody dispute.
Anyone going through a divorce process, especially involving children, should seek the opinion of an experienced attorney. It could make the difference between winning a custody dispute and losing custody.