One of the most difficult aspects of the divorce process is determining who gets custody of the children. It can be an emotional journey for both kids and parents alike. To best assess your chances of obtaining custody of the children, you first need to understand the factors family courts consider when deciding a child custody case.
The court’s primary goal is always to protect the child’s best interests. To do so, they ask many different questions about the lifestyle, habits, and emotional health of both parents. They will consider:
- A parent’s ability to financially support the child
- A parent’s vocation and employment history
- A parent’s lifestyle, including smoking, drinking, and risky or illegal behaviors
- A parent’s health and medical history
- A parent’s location of residence and their proximity to the child’s school
- A parent’s willingness to cooperate with the other parent
- A parent’s emotional bond with their child
- The child’s physical and emotional health
- The child’s wishes
- Both parents’ wishes
Mothers, Fathers, and Custody
The courts are looking to determine which parent will provide the most stable home for the child, an answer that may shift as the child transitions through different stages of growth. Decades ago, this would usually be the mother, but over time, fathers have proven they can be just as loving, supportive, and effective as mothers. Now, judges make more objective assessments in determining who will receive custody. While some judges may be more predisposed towards the mother, this is not always the case and is not a factor that a court should consider.
It is also highly common for family courts to award custody to both parents. This is called joint custody. Joint custody takes two different forms. Shared physical custody is when the child spends significant amounts of time throughout the year with both parents. When parents have joint legal custody, the child may spend most of their time with one parent, yet both collaborate on the important decisions that impact that child.
Improving Your Chances of Obtaining Child Custody
There are things you can do to improve your outcome in a child custody case. Most importantly, you should be prepared to prove you are fit to protect, support, and care for your child. That means maintaining steady employment, leading a healthy lifestyle, building a stable home where your child can thrive and having positive contact and visits with the children.
Family courts will frown upon a parent who tries to alienate the other parent from their child. Ugly custody battles cause children needless stress and anxiety. Try to resolve your child custody matter civilly with the guidance of an experienced divorce lawyer. There are times when you need to fight for your child, for example, if you have an ex-spouse that engages in risky behavior or is a danger to your child. These situations call for more urgent legal action.
Towson Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Clients with Child Custody Issues
The decisions you make during the divorce process can have a long-term impact on your child. For the best legal counsel available, contact the skilled Towson child custody lawyers at the respected law firm of Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. We work with you to protect your child and achieve the best resolution possible for your custody matter. To get started, call 443-589-0150 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Towson and Hunt Valley, Maryland to serve clients throughout the state.