There are various ways to settle child custody. If parents reach an amicable agreement, all the judge has to do is sign it off. If parents cannot agree, a judge will decide how to award child custody. In all cases, the judge must consider what is in the child’s best interests.
It can be easy to lose sight of your child’s needs when you are in the middle of an emotional divorce. Your thinking and judgment may be clouded by your frustrations with your ex. The concept of the child’s best interests is not only useful for judges but also for you as a parent. Here are some things to consider:
- What your child wants: In most cases, your child will want to continue to see and spend time with both you and their other parent. They may have preferences about how they split their time between you, however. The older the child, the more you should consider their wishes.
- Your schedule: While you may want your child to live with you, consider if your work hours allow it. If your work schedule means your child will end up in the care of a third party or must be left home alone, it may be better to concede more parenting time to the other parent.
- Extended family: Most kids enjoy time with their grandparents and some other family members. Consider how you can enable this to continue. Making room for other family members to have some time with the kids can be important.
- Health issues: If you or your spouse has health issues, it could affect your ability to care for your child. It may be necessary to give your ex more parenting time if your health interferes with your ability to parent. Similarly, if a child has health problems, they may need to be in the care of whichever parent is better equipped to handle those issues.
An experienced divorce attorney can help you achieve a child custody arrangement that’s truly in your child’s best interests.