When deciding on child custody questions, family courts start with the presumption that both parents have equal rights to custody and that shared custody will benefit the child. However, the court can then examine many factors to determine if shared custody is, in fact, in the best interests of the child.
The court may take into account virtually any concern that it deems relevant to the proceedings and the child’s well-being. Some of the factors considered under custody law include:
- The safety and health of the child, including whether one parent has a history of violence, crime, or alcohol or illegal drug abuse.
- The child’s preference of where they want to live, if the child is mature enough to understand the situation and make a decision.
- Whether each parent will encourage a healthy and ongoing relationship between the child and the other parent or whether one parent may attempt to interfere with the other parent’s contact and relationship with the child.
- Whether each parent has the willingness and ability to provide a continuous and stable environment for the child.
- The geographic location of the home of each parent and the location of the child’s siblings.
Agreeing to a Custody and Visitation Arrangement
It is always best when two parents sit down and agree upon an arrangement for custody of their child. Such agreements can be accomplished in many situations through careful discussion, negotiation, or even mediation. An experienced child custody attorney can help facilitate productive negotiations so that you can have more control over your custody agreement whenever possible.
If you cannot agree, however, the court will make a decision for you. You and the other parent will each have the opportunity to make arguments and present evidence to support your position on the custody issue. Like any other matter in court, it is important to have the help and representation of a skilled lawyer who understands the relevant laws, how to defend your rights to custody under the law, and how to use the laws to your advantage when it comes to your custody case.
Call for Help from a Family Law Attorney Today
Child custody determinations can have a significant effect on your relationship with your child and your quality of life. You should never risk an unfair child custody arrangement by trying to handle your case on your own. Instead, you should consult with a family law lawyer who understands the factors that courts examine when making this type of determination. They can help you present evidence of your fitness as a parent and that being present and active in your child’s life will be in their best interest.