When you get divorced and you go in to have a judge help you divide up your child custody schedule, don’t assume that it’s going to be done based on a specific formula that is applied to all cases. For instance, you may have a friend who received a specific schedule, and you feel like your situation warrants a similar schedule. It may, but each case is unique and you never want to assume you know what’s going to happen.
You have probably heard that the courts are now erring more on the side of allowing both parents to have custody, and it’s rather rare for them to assign sole custody. This is true, but it also doesn’t mean that you are automatically going to get 50% of the time with your children. There are just too many factors that the court has to consider, and they’ll try to find the best solution for your unique situation.
So what is the court going to consider?
The key to understanding how your case is likely to go lies in knowing what types of factors the court is worried about the most. Generally speaking, the biggest thing they focus on is what is in the child’s best interests. This is seen as more important than the parents’ best interests. Some things that may factor into this decision include:
- Who was the child’s main caregiver when you and your spouse were still married?
- What is the child’s gender? How old are they?
- Is the child old enough to have an opinion on where they want to live, and what is that opinion?
- Does the child have any special needs or health problems that need to be addressed?
- What is your health like and what is your spouse’s health status? This can apply to both your mental health and your physical health.
- What type of living situation can both you and your ex provide? While financial situations are not going to determine child custody on their own, they can influence the decision in this way.
These are just a few of the things that the court is going to consider as they try to make these decisions. At this time, be sure you know all about your legal rights and the steps you’ll need to take.