Going through a divorce can be very scary, especially if a custody battle is involved. If you and your spouse cannot come to a joint-custody agreement, the court may determine which parent will be the custodial parent of your child. The custodial parent gets physical or legal custody, or both, of your child.
The court may choose the custodial parent based on your child’s best interest. There are many factors that the court considers in custody hearings.
Top three considerations of the court
- Primary caretaker
The parent that is considered the primary caretaker is very important in the court’s determination of the custodial parent. Whichever parent spends the most time with the child is most likely to get both physical and legal custody.
The parent that provides the most stability and helps the child keep going to the same school and participating in activities that always have is more likely to get physical custody.
- Child’s preference
Depending on your child’s age, the court may ask your child which parent they would prefer to live with. The court will take the child’s reasoning into consideration when choosing the custodial parent.
How to succeed
The best thing you can do is be involved in your child’s life before, during and after divorce.
If you want to be the custodial parent, make sure you do not move out of your home or away from your children at any time during the divorce process. Doing so pins you as the less stable option because you left your child. It would also give your spouse an advantage by showing that they were the primary caretaker for your child while you were gone.
On average, it seems to be more difficult for a father to get custody. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 19% of fathers become the custodial parent.
Even if your ex-spouse gets custody, you should try to make the best out of your situation. Although you may not be the custodial parent, courts generally believe that having both parents involved in your child’s life is best. Be grateful for the time you do have with your child.
If you are concerned about losing your child due to your divorce, seek legal help.