The subject of child custody and visitation can be heavily contested during the divorce or separation. Under ideal circumstances, the family court would prefer a situation where the couple comes up with their own custody arrangement that serves the best interest of the child.
However, there are times when parents may seek the help of the family court while creating a custody plan. When this happens, the court will take into account a number of factors when issuing a custody order.
Custody order and the best interest of the child
While making a ruling regarding how the parents will share custody of their child following the divorce or separation has to be based on the best interest of the child. Basically, the court will review each parent’s living situation and issue a custody and visitation order that promotes the child’s safety, happiness, physical and emotional well-being as well as overall development.
To arrive at a decision, the judge will consider the following:
- Each parent’s physical and mental health
- How each parent is relating to the child
- The child’s preference, granted they are mature enough to make independent decisions
If either parent attempts to alienate the other parent, lies to the court or intentionally drags the legal process, then the court will take these behaviors into account. A parent who has previously attempted to interfere with the other parent’s relationship with the child might have a hard time convincing the court that they are fit for primary custody. The same is true when one parent refuses to cooperate with the other parent while working out a custody plan.
While the court has the discretion to consider a number of variables, they cannot discriminate against or favor one parent while making a ruling.
A post-divorce parenting plan is one of the most important decisions a couple can ever make. Find out how you can work out a custody plan that takes into account your child’s best interest.