Whenever a married couple divorces and a child is involved, the situation is highly stressful. Child custody is a hotly-contested topic that will cause a lot of conflict. In the past, child custody was solely awarded to mothers in most cases but this is no longer the case since in modern times it is the responsibility of both parents to raise a child. Courts now only think about the best interest of the child when custody is awarded. According to child custody attorney Joshua Harshberger, both spouses have equal chances of getting custody of a child but courts do eventually decide.
Statistics show that working mom numbers are at record highs, close to 70% in the US, according to the US BLS. In addition, 30% of the working wives make more money than their husbands so they are the main breadwinner in the family. Whenever something like this happens, child custody is highly debated.
The problem with non custodial parent who moves out-of-state is that spouses are not aware of what is important for courts and what is not. For instance, money is not the most important factor considered, as so many believe. Courts mainly want to ensure that children are as undisturbed as possible by the divorce. You will often hear the court saying that the standard used is always “the best interests of the child”.
Without further ado, the main factors that are considered by the courts as they decide who is awarded child custody are:
- The physical health and mental health of the parents.
- The sex, age, physical health and mental health of the child.
- The lifestyle of the parent.
- Social factors influencing parent lifestyle.
- Emotional bond that currently exists between the child and the parent.
- The ability of the parent to offer guidance.
- The established living patterns of the child – this includes school, community, home and even religious institutions.
- The ability of the parent to offer shelter, medical care, clothing and food.
- The impact of status quo changes on the child.
- The quality of the education the child receives.
- Child preference, when the child is older than a specific threshold.
Because of these factors, as an example, when the father is the stay at home parent (in appearance or reality), there is a possibility that courts maintain status quo as custody is awarded. The father may receive 50 percent of allowed time or even a majority.
Working parents that want to secure a child’s primary custody after the divorce need to work with experienced family law attorneys that are going to offer the necessary guidance. Although you are now responsible for most of the care-taking, the attorney is the one that helps since physical presence in children activities does have a huge impact on the final decision. It is really important that you make the right choices whenever a child is involved in a divorce.
To sum up, child custody is really tricky and both parents can win the case. Always look for the divorce attorney that has the most experience possible so you have the biggest possibility of being awarded custody.