How Does the Court Determine Who Has Child Custody?

November 2, 2022

If you are wondering how a court determines which parent gets custody of your child, a child custody lawyer may be helpful. Child custody is one of the biggest issues that come up following a separation or divorce. It can get pretty difficult if both parents are unable to come to an agreement. Continue reading to find out how exactly child custody is determined.

Determining Child Custody Arrangements

Both parents must submit a parenting plan to the court to determine child custody. However, this means that both parents have come to a mutual agreement. When parents are incapable of coming to an accord about their child/children’s arrangements, the court must make that decision after listening to what each parent has to say.

Furthermore, the court must design a schedule that both parties must obey. This schedule will include visitation and custody information and will be a part of the divorce.

Both parents must also come to an agreement on a visitation schedule for their child/children. By doing this, they can keep the court from making that determination. The only other thing the court would have to do is accept it or not accept it. It should be in the parents’ best interest to design a schedule that suits their family versus allowing the court to do this.

Figuring Out the Best Interests of the Child

There are many things that the courts will consider when it comes to the best interests of their child. Certain things like the location you reside and other factors may play a role. However, no matter the state you reside in, the child’s best interests will still pertain to the case. The only thing that differs is the factors that determine the best interests of the child.

Many factors can come into play when it comes to the child, such as the age and sex of the child, the needs of the child, the mental and physical health of the parents, and many more. The judge will use these things to come up with a final decision. For example, maybe the mother has been suffering from alcohol addiction. In this case, the child’s best interests will probably be with the father as long as he is mentally and physically stable.

As far as the child being able to make a choice regarding their personal preference, this is only one factor that the judge will take into consideration.

Child Custody for Unmarried Parents

For parents that are not married to one another, child custody hearings will differ. While the same factors will come into play, the best interests of the child are really what the judge will consider. Certain things like division or property and alimony will not be a part of the hearing.

Paternity may play a role in proving who will have custody. Paternity can be proven in a variety of ways and depending on where you live, these laws will vary.

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K.J. Law P.A.