The court is required to determine one parent, often called a primary residential parent. Often people choose “joint custody” or “joint residential parents” – when both parent can take care of their child\children and have access to their records such as health record, educational record and so on. If they do not accept joint custody, then the judge needs to choose one or the other, and there are various reasons that go into determining which parent will succeed.
Age of the children.
Although the belief that children in tender years should stay with their mothers is not of relevance nowadays, some judges still will prefer a woman as a primary parent; especially that’s true for the nursing babies.
The place where parent live is a quite controversial factor and can affect custody unexpectedly. In some cases, the person who stays in the family house is more preferable since it ensures the kids stability and balance in their every day lives. Often, the parent with kids can stay in the same house he or she lived in marriage for the same reason. If you are staying at your best friend’s guest room for a while until you get on your feet and recover after the divorce, don’t hope to get your kids back as a primary parent. If you really want to spend as much time with your children as possible, make sure your house or place you live now reflects that. The distance between your home and your ex-spouse may also influence the situation. The closer you are, the more chances you have that the judge will order a special time-sharing schedule that provides both parent with significant time to spend with the kids. The proximity of their school may also be important.
Your relationship with the children before the divorce.
It often occurs that parents who have not been very close with their children’s lives unexpectedly gain a strong desire to see them more often after the breaking up. Usually this aspiration is faithful, and a judge will appreciate it, particularly if the person has actually been devoted to parenting throughout the separation procedure. However the judge will certainly spend some time to measure this change and make sure that the custody demand isn’t really being made mostly to annoy or hurt the other parent.
If children are mature enough— about 12 or more— the court may discuss this situation with them to find out their point of view and preferences about custody. Some local authorities require judges to consider kids’ views, but others disagree with the idea of involving them into it at all. However, whether the court counts it or not, children’s opinion is never the final deciding factor.
It goes without saying, that if there’s a clear evidence that either parent has abused or neglected the children, a judge will limit that parent’s contact with the children.