Despite your divorce, you want your co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse to work out, and you want your custody situation to benefit your child. That’s what the court wants, too.
Judges generally look at the bigger picture in determining what arrangement is in your child’s best interest. While you and your co-parent may broker a custody agreement among yourselves, the judge ultimately has to sign off on it. It’s critical that you understand the factors that are weighed in the decision because it all comes down to what’s in your child’s best interests.
Every child’s needs are unique
There have been many shifts as to what child psychologists believe is the best way to raise a child following a divorce over the past few years. These psychologists have long strategized about what arrangement leaves children with the least physical or mental health impact when their parents divorce. The general consensus is that joint physical custody is best.
Is it possible that a judge would tilt the balance on custody toward one parent more than another? Sometimes, but that’s usually only when one party alleges that the other has a major problem that affects their ability to be an effective parent. In those situations, a judge would have to consider things like:
- Whether either parent has substance abuse issues.
- How comfortable and safe each parents’ homes are for the child.
- If either parent has faced past abuse or domestic violence allegations.
- Whether both parents have the physical and mental capacity to manage their parenting duties.
The court may also take into account a child’s temperament, gender and age when deciding whether a custody agreement is appropriate. Judges often ask parents additional probing questions before rendering custodial decisions but you’re far more likely to have a parenting plan approved if you and your co-parent are on the same page.