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The custody situation is not so cut and dry anymore. Years ago, the court system used to feel as though a child’s place was with his or her mother as long as the mother was not abusing the child. Nowadays, judges consider the male parents much more heavily. Both parents must have proper representation in court battles because nothing is certain anymore. Judges will consider the following factors in a custody hearing:
Financial stability is something that the judges will explore before they make custody decisions. They want to ensure that the custodial parent has enough funds to pay for the child’s education, clothing, meals and other needs. However, the parent who has more money will not automatically win custody in a just court. The judge may feel as though it is in the child’s best interest to leave the child with the parent who has the least amount of money and have the other parent pay child support. This part of the process is quite sensitive and will require both parties to submit financial documentation.
The criminal records of both parents are something that the judge will consider before he or she makes a final decision about custody. The court will want to review the arrest records to ensure that neither of the parents has domestic violence issues, drug charges or something else. The judge will consider the nature of the crimes, the disposition and the amount of time that has passed since the crime occurred. The intention is to place the child in the safest environment while not stepping on anyone’s toes who may have been reformed since the crime occurred.
Emotional and Physical Health
Another determining factor in a custody case is the health of the both parents. The court will review the physical and emotional state of both parties to ensure that the child can receive adequate care in his main home. For example, a parent who is confined to a wheelchair may be limited in the amount of care that he or she can give the child. However, that person will have the opportunity to produce medical records and proof of successful efforts before the court makes a final decision. The court will consider conditions that specialists place under the “mental health” umbrella, as well.
Cooperativeness plays a huge part in the judge’s decision. Both parents are supposed to try to foster a loving relationship with the other parent. That does not always happen, however, because of some lingering pain and resentment that the parents sometimes have because of the divorce. The judge will side with the parent who cooperates the most and tries to involve the other parent in the child’s life. Parents should never try to interfere with visitation no matter how much they feel their actions are justified. Such acts will destroy the credibility of the parent who performs them.
The Testimony of the Child
In some states, the court considers the child’s testimony. They usually do not allow the testimony of children who are younger than 14 years old, but some rare cases may allow it. It is important to hear how the child feels but not to give it too much weight because fights can be very nasty between parents. Manipulation can occur, and the child may just repeat what one of the parents impressed upon his or her mind. This category is a tricky one.
Divorcing parents should contact a reliable divorce attorney in NY and request representation today. A reliable attorney will try his or her best to paint the client in a favorable light.