When going through divorce as a parent, you naturally want your children to suffer as few negative impacts as possible. Because each case has its own unique conditions, the manner in which you look out for your children may differ from other families. Nonetheless, when it comes to creating a viable child custody agreement, you may want to minimize conflict as best as possible while also ensuring that your children’s best interests remain at the forefront.
Though many individuals maintain that the best interests of the children play the most important role in custody decisions, you may not fully understand what that phrase entails. You may have an idea of what terms will work best for your kids, but if the court must have a say in the arrangements, you may wonder what the court will consider.
Numerous factors can play a role in custody decisions that relate to the children’s best interests. These factors can include:
- Child’s wishes – If a child has reached an appropriate age, the court may take the child’s own custody preferences under consideration. In many cases, older children can express their desires in a manner that reflects a reasonable point for their preference.
- Special needs – If any of your children have special needs, the court should examine those needs and how each parent takes care of the child. If you typically handle your special-needs child’s care more often or better than your spouse, that information may work in your favor.
- Home environment – Having a stable home environment can play a significant role in children’s upbringing. Therefore, if one parent has a job that requires considerable amounts of travel or the parent expresses other indicators of instability, the court may rule against that parent.
- Parents’ health – The mental and physical health of both parents can also have a place in custody decisions. If one parent lacks the mental or physical means to care for the children, the other parent will likely gain custody.
A variety of other lifestyle, household and outside factors can also contribute to custody decisions. Therefore, if you hope to gain custody of your kids, you may wish to examine these areas for yourself in order to get a better idea of your chances.
Because custody fights often occur during difficult divorce cases, you may wish to determine what legal options you have for working toward your desired outcome. Speaking with an experienced North Dakota attorney may help you assess your particular case and determine your most viable courses of action.