Child Custody Battle: 8 Factors To Look For That Could Affect You
A child custody battle is seldom a painless process. And as a parent, all you want is what is best for your child’s health, safety, and wellbeing.
And believe it or not, that’s exactly what a judge wants too – a safe and happy environment for the child. Which is why they take child custody hearings so seriously. If you are preparing for a child custody hearing, you need to be as prepared as possible.
Read below to find out what factors will affect your custody battle and what you can do to increase the likelihood that the decision will be favorable for you.
1. Living Situation
A judge is going to ask where you are currently living. They want to know that you can provide a safe shelter for a child. In some cases, a judge will lean towards granting custody to the parent that is living in the child’s current home. So, if your former spouse is living there while you are living somewhere else, that could be a negative for you.
However, there are also cases in which the parent that is granted custody is also granted access to the child’s current home. Regardless, the judge wants the child to experience normalcy by staying in their family home.
You can also increase your chances of a favorable outcome if you choose to live near your former spouse. This way, you can show that you are also able to share custody. Committing to living nearby shows your dedication and desire to remain in your child’s life.
2. Your Relationship With the Child
If you are an attentive, loving parent that has historically spent quality time with your child, a judge will be more likely to grant you custody. You should try to demonstrate that you have established a quality bond with your child.
In some cases, parents argue for custody even when they have been absent in their child’s life. This reflects poorly on the historic commitment as a parent. Therefore, a judge is less likely to grant custody. But this is not absolutely certain.
So if you have not been as involved in your child’s life or have not had the opportunity to build a good relationship, you can communicate to the judge that you would still like to do so. If you have additional questions about this you can talk to a child custody lawyer.
3. The Child’s Preference
For children that are 12 years or older, a judge may ask them who they would prefer to live with. This conversation is private and considered confidential to protect both parents.
This is not always the most important factor to a judge but it can reveal other things about how the child feels about spending time with each parent.
You should encourage your child to be truthful during their interview with a judge or a custody evaluator. You should not try to tell them what to say or make them feel guilty.
4. Career Obligations
A judge may also consider each parent’s work schedule. If one parent has a very demanding job or is required to travel for work it may be hard for them to find time to spend with the child. It is considered in the child’s best interest to live with a parent that has time to support their physical and emotional health.
You do not need to be a stay-at-home parent to get custody. But you do have to show that your schedule will allow sufficient time to care for a child.
5. Physical and Mental Health of Parents
In some cases, a parent may have a physical or mental health condition that prevents them from being a suitable full-time or part-time guardian. For example, a parent with anger management issues or a history of drinking or drug abuse is not usually going to be granted custody.
Physical health issues like chronic illness or disability could also make it hard to care for a child. If a judge feels that a parent is not in good enough health to look after the child, they will not usually grant custody.
6. The Status Quo
The best interest of the child is usually whatever will not disrupt the child’s routine and life. So, if one parent lives in a new school district and the child would have to change schools, that is less favorable than staying at their current school.
Children need some level of stability and normalcy during a divorce. So, whichever parent is able to provide that is more likely to get a better custody arrangement.
7. Age of the Child
In the past, the age of the child was a more telling factor in custody battles. Judges believed that very young children were better living with their mothers than their fathers. However, that general belief has shifted somewhat.
The age of the child can still affect custody though. An infant is usually placed with his or her mother barring any serious evidence of misconduct on the part of the mother.
8. Abuse or Neglect
Any accusations of abuse or neglect from one parent are taken very seriously during custody battles. If there is any evidence of misconduct, a judge will most likely limit that parent’s access to the child regardless of any of the other factors mentioned above.
If you believe there are unfounded accusations of abuse or neglect you can talk to a child custody attorney to find out more.
Get the Result You Want from a Child Custody Battle In Texas
The best way to ensure you get the desired outcome from a child custody battle is to hire superior representation. You should find an experienced child custody attorney that can help you prepare for a custody hearing.
No matter what happened between you and your former spouse, your child deserves to live a happy life with a supportive family. Each of your actions and statements during a child custody battle should consider what is best for the child.
If you’re looking for a divorce or child custody attorney in Texas, contact us today.