Questions Your Custody Lawyer Can Help You Answer

One of the main things on the minds of many involved in a divorce is what factors the judge will consider when deciding where the children go. This can change from district to district and even from judge to judge. While there are general criteria that the majority of judges will adhere to when making their decisions, there are also intangibles that can’t be put into hard and fast rules. Factors such as personality and courtroom respect play a role, whether they really should or not. Sometimes prejudice comes into play, though this will never be clear. Your custody lawyer can help with both the facts and the intangibles, but here is an overview of some of the factors likely to play a role.

The Child

One of the biggest factors in a divorce situation will be the child himself. If he is over the age of 12, the judge may place a good deal of weight on his personal preference. If his interests fly in the face of what is obviously best for him, this may not be enough to overcome the judge’s wisdom, but it will certainly be taken into consideration. The judge is also likely to consider the gender of the child, age, and health.


This is a big one. The court likes to see a parent whose lifestyle is geared towards providing an appropriate environment for the child. They will usually look at a partying lifestyle with a dim view. This could even extend to career choice. Moms who work in risque industries for a living are probably not going to be seen as fit for the child’s caregiver as a mom who works as an accountant. This may not be fair, but this is the kind of thing that will almost certainly play a role in the decision. Someone closer to the situation, such as your custody lawyer, will easily be able to pick out the lifestyle issues that may present a problem.

Emotional Bonds

This is one of those near-intangibles that can be difficult to quantify. Nonetheless, a judge will likely make some observations about which parent the child naturally gravitates to. It’s not unusual for one parent to take more of a “bread-winner/disciplinarian” role in the relationship, something that isn’t necessarily that nourishing to the child’s emotional needs. When there is a counterbalance to that role in the family, little harm may be done. When there is a choice between two roles, however, the judge is going to probably give more weight to the one with the bond. A skilled custody lawyer will know how to properly present your relationship.

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