Child custody can be an emotionally fraught topic during divorce. To help guide parents and the family law court, child custody factors are used to help determine what is in the best interests of the child and what child custody arrangement would be best for them.
Best interests of the child and child custody factors
Several factors are taken into account when determining child custody including:
- The love, affection and emotional ties between the child and the parties involved;
- The capacity and disposition of the parents to provide the child with love, affection and guidance;
- The capacity and disposition of the parents to continue the child’s education and raising the child in their religion;
- The length of time the child has lived in a stable and satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining the continuity of that environment;
- The permanence of the family unit and of the existing or proposed custodial homes;
- The home, school and community record of the child;
- The moral fitness of the parties involved;
- The physical and mental health of the parents;
- The reasonable preference of the child if the family law court determines the child is of sufficient age to express such a preference;
- The willingness and ability of each of the parents to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and other parent;
- Any history of domestic violence; and
- Any other relevant factor that the family law court considered relevant to the child custody determination.
Utilizing child custody factors can help guide child custody decisions and help both the family law court and the parents arrive at a child custody arrangement that is best for the child. For that reason, parents should be familiar with what to expect from the child custody process and how child custody is determined.