In contested custody proceedings, both states apply a “best interest of the kid” principle. There is an ambiguous standard that lends itself to judges’ individual views of what is right for youngsters. However, there are several considerations that a judge is likely to weigh.
While the doctrine of the “tender years” has long been declared obsolete, certain judges maintain that younger children should remain with their mothers, especially if the mother has been the primary caregiver. (Undoubtedly, a breastfeeding infant would do so.) In general, most courts have guidelines that they reference for such cases.
Each parent’s living arrangement
The question of where parents reside and how it impacts custody presents a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation. Occasionally, the adult who remains in the family home is given custody of the children to provide support and consistency of the children’s everyday lives. Occasionally, the custodial parent is given the family home for the same purpose. If you’re staying in a friend’s guest room as you rehabilitate after the breakup, don’t claim to get primary custody of your children. If you sincerely want to spend considerable time with your baby, you must ensure that your living situation represents this desire. The judge will even consider the proximity of your home to that of your partner. The closer you live, the more possible it is that the judge would order a time-sharing arrangement that allows both parents substantial contact with the children. The position of their education, as well as their social and athletic activities, can also be important.
Each parent’s willingness to support the other’s relationship with the children
The judge will consider your history of cooperating or refusing to cooperate with your partner over your parental schedule. Additionally, the judge will like to know why you disparage your partner in front of the children or intervene with visitation in some way. The more agreeable parent would still have an advantage in a custody dispute-and a parent who is clearly attempting to alienate a child from the other parent would quickly find that courts do not look favorably on that kind of intervention.
Before the divorce, each parent’s partnership with the child
It is not uncommon for parents who have become minimally interested in their children’s lives to spontaneously feel a deep urge to spend more time with them after the marriage ends. Sometimes, this intention is genuine, and a judge would respect it, especially if the parent has been committed to parenting during the separation era. However, the judge would undoubtedly require time to consider a parent’s change of heart and to ensure that the custody appeal is not being brought only to gain an advantage over the other parent.
Preferences of children
If children are of appropriate age (typically over the age of 12) a judge will speak with them to ascertain their interests in custody and visits. Certain jurisdictions mandate courts to understand children’s perspectives, whereas others oppose including children at all. Additionally, the judge will receive information regarding the children’s interests from a custody evaluator.
Continuity and constancy
When it comes to girls, judges are staunch supporters of the status quo, believing that putting further reform on top of the stressful process of divorce is inherently detrimental to children. Therefore, if you argue that all is perfect, you have an advantage over a partner asking for a significant alteration in the custody or visiting schedule that is currently in effect.
If you are in a same-sex marriage in Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, or Vermont, or if you are in a domestic partnership or civil union in California, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, or Washington State, whether you and your partner are also the legal parents of your children, your sexual orientation would have little bearing on the court’s decision. You would be kept to the same expectations as most divorcing partners.
Other jurisdictions have enacted legislation prohibiting judges from denying custody or limiting visitation solely based on sexual identity. That is not to say that you would never face a bigot court, including in certain nations. Additionally, in several jurisdictions, judges are permitted to recognize sexual identity as a significant element in making custody and visiting determinations. Judges also rule in those states that a parent’s same-sex spouse cannot be present while children visit or that the parent cannot subject the children to a “gay lifestyle.” And, in the worst-case situation, parents could be barred from having further interaction with their children due to their sexual identity. The same may be said about transgender parents, who may encounter increased discrimination in comparison to same-sex parents, as well as a lack of awareness regarding the transgender experience in certain courts.
Abusive or neglectful conduct
Obviously, if a judge finds compelling proof that a parent has exploited or abandoned the children, the parent’s interaction with the children would be limited.
Since each circumstance is unique, the judge might include additional considerations when determining custody in your case.