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The child’s best interests: Key factors

On Behalf of | May 16, 2024 | Child Custody

When couples get divorced, the court may have to step in and create a child custody schedule. Some couples do this on their own and have the court sign off on it. But others can’t agree on how legal or physical custody should be divided, so the court does it for them.

To make this decision, the court has to consider the child’s best interests. Those should always come first, and they have to be weighed alongside what the parents prefer. The court is trying to create a child custody schedule that puts the child first and creates stability for them after the divorce.

Common factors they consider

Every divorce case is unique, but below are some of the most common factors that the court will consider when making this determination:

  • The child’s age 
  • The parents’ age
  • The parents’ physical and mental health 
  • The child’s sex or gender 
  • If the child has a preference regarding where they live 
  • If there is any evidence of substance abuse in the home 
  • If one of the parents has a criminal record
  • Any special needs that the child has, such as certain disabilities or developmental delays 
  • The financial ability of the parents to care for the child 
  • Where the child goes to school and what community they are part of 
  • Any social or religious considerations

These are certainly not all of the factors that the court will consider, but they do show parents how the legal system works when making a child custody determination. As they go through this process, parents need to know about all of their legal options.