When it comes to child custody and what do judges look for in a child custody case, you don’t want to take any chances. Your first step should be to hire an attorney who regularly handles child custody cases. The sooner you have this in order, the sooner your attorney can prepare you for what is to come and help guide you toward the best course of action for you. You will want to know what your judge usually looks for in child custody cases. While different judges will weigh things differently, they will all likely consider the following at some point.
First of all, a judge is responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of the child. What is in the child’s best interests? In order to determine this, a judge will look into whether the child has a safe place to live, is clothed, is fed healthy food, and is properly supervised. If you want to gain or keep custody of your child, you must be able to show that you can provide these things for your children. Even if you’re the one that moved out, you need to have an established residence and enough room for your children.
In addition to this, the judge will want to make sure your child will receive your emotional support and love. Are you there for them when they need you? Have you been there for them before now? This will come through your testimony and that of the other parent, the testimony of others, pictures and video, and possibly through your child’s own testimony.
The judge will look into your past to see if you have any history of criminal behavior or abuse. In addition to abuse of a child, do you have any kind of domestic violence charges against you? Does your spouse? Were you arrested or serving time in jail for striking your spouse or being involved in a fight? Was your spouse? All of this will be considered and weighed in the judge’s decision.
The abuse doesn’t have to be only physical. Have you or your spouse demonstrated the abuse of alcohol, pills, or other narcotics? If this appears in the records, it will affect the judge’s decision. But if you or your former spouse has successfully completed inpatient or outpatient rehab or AA or NA classes, or has tested negative for the presence of drugs or alcohol, you or they might be able to overcome such problems. The help of a family law attorney is essential. The other parent will have an attorney, and they will try to use your mistakes against you and show the judge that you should not be granted custody. Your attorney will help you develop a defense to this claim.
Depending on your child’s age and ability to make independent decisions, the judge might want to know what your child wants to do and if they prefer to stay with one parent or the other.
In most circumstances, the judge will make sure the child spends time with both parents. But if the judge sees either parent as a threat to the child, or if either parent has demonstrated problems with properly taking care of a child, this may not be an option.
Additionally, it can be difficult if the parents cannot work together in custody. When both parties attempt to receive full custody of the child (or take away any current joint custody orders in place), the custody battle can become a much larger, deeper issue. Judges do not want to completely strip a parent of their rights to care for and see their child, but there are times when this is necessary.
When it comes to child custody, there is usually some kind of conflict between the parents. But they usually need to be able to work together. Parents do not need to like each other, but they have to try to be cordial and capable of communicating. If this is not possible, the judge may require both parties to attend some kind of counseling or other joint therapy sessions to make the exchange of a child during joint custody go smoother. It is often not necessarily about what each parent wants. When it comes to what do judges look for in a child custody case, the judge will want to make sure the child is properly taken care of.
If you are about to start a custody fight or are already in the middle of it, the sooner you hire a child custody attorney, the better off you’ll be. While divorce and child custody are often closely intertwined, even if you are not married to your child’s other parent, you still need to bring on an attorney that regularly handles child custody cases. At Wilson, Lackey, Rohr & Hall, P.C., we have just such attorneys for you. Give the law firm of Wilson, Lackey, Rohr & Hall, P.C. a call. We can help you develop the legal strategy to best protect your rights as a parent and the rights of your child.