In child custody cases, a number of factors can influence the final decision. These factors are what help the judge render their verdict. In family court, the judge is usually looking out for the best interest of the children involved. The judge also has to decide on which type of custody it should be. Even though all of this is up to the discretion of the judge, it can be changed as warranted by different circumstances.
Types of custody
• Sole custody-this is when the judge decides that the child is better living with one parent. A judge in not likely to choose this type of custody unless there is a compelling reason to do so. Some of these compelling reasons could be that one parent is addicted to drugs, is abusive, or a danger to the child
• Joint custody-this is when both parents physically share the child’s time. The child may live with one parent during the summer, weekend visits, and holidays are shared.
• Primary residential custody-this is when custody is awarded to one parent and the other parent has visitation right.
Best interest of the children
This factor takes into consideration almost everything about the child including their routines, their ages, and their preference as to which parent they want to live with if they are old enough to state this. This factor is what most child custody cases decisions are based on. The judge will normally consider information received from multiple sources before they render their final decision. This information will help the judge decide what is best for the children. When the judge makes his decision known, he makes sure that the situation he is placing the child is not detrimental. The judge wants the child placed with the right parent.
This includes both mother and father’s situations. The judge looks at their schooling, any job-specific training, and employment history. The living situation and home life stability is also considered. The court may even do a background check on the parents to see if there are any felonies or criminal activity. The parent’s lifestyle and salary will be looked at. Depending on the situation the court may even ask for a drug test.
The judge will look to see if one or both parents are moving and how that would affect the non-custodial parent in regards to seeing the child. It can be hard on the child and the non-custodial parent to form a relationship or continue the relationship they had if they are not living close to each other. This is also true for the parent who has the child and they move away. The geographic location of both parents can influence what type of custody the judge grants.