The happiness, emotional development, security and mental health of the child are among the factors judges consider when deciding what’s best for the child. In most cases, the child’s preference for living with one parent or another will be given weight by the court. However, the judge must be careful about parental manipulation of a child’s preferences as it could be interpreted as an attempt to alienate the child from the other parent in order to win custody of the child.
The age of the child: Young children are more dependent on their primary caregivers and need to have a strong bond with this person in order to thrive emotionally. For older children, the courts may take into account what the child wants as well, such as where they live or with whom they spend time, if that’s in their best interests.
Stability of the home: The judge will consider whether each parent has a stable job and a place to live in order to determine if they are fit to be the primary caretakers for the child. They will also look at how each parent can meet the child’s basic needs, such as nutritious food and adequate health care.
Domestic Violence: If a child has been physically or emotionally abused by either parent, the judge will consider that in their decision. It is not acceptable for any type of abuse to be tolerated, and the judge will likely use restraining orders, counseling and changes to a custody order to help resolve such a situation.
Changing a custody arrangement can be an emotional and difficult process, but it is a necessary step to protect the best interests of your child. An experienced Dade County family attorneys will be able to help you navigate the legal system and obtain the change that you need.
Criminal History: A judge will also consider a person’s criminal history when making a custody decision. This includes the nature and severity of the crime, whether the offense is a current issue or was committed long ago and how it relates to the custody case.
Geographic proximity of the parents: This is a very important factor for judges to consider because it can impact how much time the child can spend with each parent. If a parent lives far away, the court will want to make sure that they are able to provide a safe and healthy environment for their child.
Family Support: The judge will look at how closely the child is able to form connections with other people, such as extended family members and friends, when determining what’s in the child’s best interests. This can be done through a Guardian Ad Litem’s (GAL) report, in which the GAL interviews various members of the child’s life and records their notes for the court.
Other factors that a judge will consider when determining what’s in the child’s interest are their social and emotional development, and whether they have access to any resources that can assist them in overcoming challenges they face. These can include school, medical and dental care, counseling, and a host of other resources.
A judge will also consider a child’s preference for custody if that preference has been stated under oath. However, the court can override a child’s preference if it is not in their best interests.