Four Main Factors That Courts Use To Award Primary Custody

If you are going through a divorce and there are kids involved, this can add a whole different layer to your divorce proceedings and outcome. If you are seeking out primary custody, it can help to understand what courts might be looking for (and hope to avoid) when awarding custody. Here are four main factors that might be useful to understand before your custody hearing begins.

1. The Best Interests of the Child

While you might love your child and want full custody, sometimes there are some very real reasons why one parent should have primary custody. Factors that might hold weight are breastfeeding and infants, the parent that will be staying in the main home for continuity, or if a child is old enough to have a say in the process. If you can use any of these factors in your favor, review your child's immediate needs with your attorney.

2. Parental Lifestyle Choices

Parental lifestyle choices might affect one's parenting capabilities and therefore might be reviewed. Lifestyles that might be looked down upon are smoking, since that could expose the child to secondhand smoke, or drinking, since a home might be deemed unsafe if the adult has struggled with alcohol abuse. A history of abuse or a tumultuous break up might also be relevant to the judge, since those things both physically and emotionally damage children. While you might want to stay amicable with your ex, pointing out details that can keep your children safe is more important.

3. Parental Stability

Mental and emotional health are important for solid parenting. A parent that is working through issues or has a history with mental illness almost certainly still loves their child and deserves time with them. However, they might not be the best candidate for primary custody. This is something that can be reviewed again in the future if a parent has overcome hurdles and might be ready for joint custody or other arrangements.

4. Patterns in Children's Lives

If one parent moves away and wants to seek out primary custody, this might not be looked upon as the best option for kids that have their lives and schedules set up in one location. If the child is involved in a certain school district, church, sport or activity, those things make up a big part of the child's day-to-day pattern. A parent that has moved to a different town or state might be granted visitation over the summer and holidays so that a child's life isn't disrupted.

Work with a divorce attorney from a company like Garrett & Silvey Law Firm if you are seeking primary custody. They will help you showcase why you should be granted primary custody. Try to remember that the safety and security of your children should be the priority. If you aren't given the outcome you hoped for, things can change and a follow up hearing can be an option in the future.