When going through a divorce or other break up when children are involved, often the most emotionally charged part of the proceedings is the custody of the child or children. If the parents cannot agree on a custody situation between each other then the courts will make the decision. The “best interest” of the child is always used when the court is making their decision.
Committed to the best interest of your children
In the court’s eyes, the “best interest” of the child usually means making a decision with the child’s happiness, safety, and health as the first priority. Usually, this includes a good relationship with both parents, allowing the child to maintain a close bond with each of them. Some of the main factors common in analyzing what is in the best interest of the child include:
- What the child would like, as long as they are old enough to express a preference
- Each parent’s mental and physical health.
- If a child has special needs and the ability of the parents to meet them
- Religious and cultural considerations
- Whether the home environment is stable
- Relevant sibling custody arrangements
- Extended support system such as grandparents
- Involvement in school and the community
- Age and sex of the child
- Existence of parental drug, alcohol, or child/sex abuse
How Child custody is determined in Syracuse
When determining what is in the best interest of the child, the courts look at several factors. These are the most relevant, but may include others, such as:
- Job history: the courts will examine each parent’s ability to financially care for the child.
- Housing: A stable and safe home environment is an important factor in determining who the child will live with.
- Domestic Violence: The courts will look at any history of abuse and how it is relevant to the child/parent relationship.
- Health: the child’s healthcare needs a factor as well as the ability of parent to meet the needs at hand
- Age of the child: The overall care requirements of each child varies with age. For example, an infant who is breastfed will likely be placed with the mother since she is the source of food.
- Parent/child relationship: This is where the opinion of the child is more of a factor. If the child has a poor relationship with one parent and is old enough to express a preference, the child’s opinion will be taken into account.
- School/Social situation: The involvement of the child in school, community, and other social programs may be a factor.
All of these factors and more may play into the court’s decision where to place a child. Child custody is a comprehensive evaluation of the circumstances to ensure that the child is placed in the safest, most physically and psychologically beneficial environment possible.
Types of Child Custody
Sole Legal Custody:
Sole custody is often awarded when one parent is shown to be unfit as a parent. This means that the custodial parent has the sole legal right to make decisions regarding the child’s health, welfare, and the right to have the child live with them. It also means that the custodial parent may choose which religion the child will practice, what school they will attend etc.
This is the right of the parent to have the child live with them. A parent may have sole physical custody but joint legal custody. Often this is because the parents live too far apart to uproot the child often to live with both parents but both parents have the right to make legal decisions and must agree before making decisions as to the child’s welfare.
In a society where roughly 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, many parents face the reality of a child custody arrangement. With 70% of mothers being a part of the workforce today, courts have been trending towards granting joint custody to the parents.
As respected family law attorneys in Syracuse, we are here to assist our clients with every situation. We are available to our clients to represent their best interests and the best interests of their children. Contact us with our online form or call us at 315-488-5544.