A court will look to do what is in the child’s best interests when determining custody in a divorce.
It is a vague concept that will vary from family to family. Yet there are some general guidelines for how a court will assess this.
Both parents have an important role to play
Imagine you have two best friends. They fall out and demand you choose between them. You wouldn’t think it was fair. You love each of them for the different things they bring to your life and want to continue seeing both, even if it has to be one at a time.
Now imagine how much harder it would be for a kid having to choose between their parents. Fortunately, a court understands that and will do its best to reach an outcome that allows the child to benefit from continued contact with both parents.
The only time a court would consider that removing one parent from the child’s life is beneficial is if that parent poses a serious threat to them.
How will specific decisions affect a child’s future
Let’s say you married someone wealthy. They believe their money will give your child opportunities you cannot possibly afford. They intend to move with the child to another state where they will pay for a first-class education, give your child holidays on private yachts and have their influential friends smooth the way for a political career for your child when they get older.
A judge will listen to all of that. Yet they will also listen to your counterarguments. Taking the child far away from their step-siblings, cousins, aunts and grandparents will concern them. Taking the child so far away from you will worry them even more. They may decide what is most crucial to the child is the love and support that you and your family provide and that your ex can still give your child a leg up in life without needing to take the child away from you.
It can be hard to retain perspective when trying to strike a custody deal. Emotions get in the way. Getting outside guidance can help you focus on what really is in your child’s best interest.