While divorce rates for couples over 50 are the greatest, according to NY Daily News, plenty of young couples with children are getting divorced every day as well. When a couple who has a child goes through separation or divorce, the most painful legal aspect of their separation is child custody. The tempers and emotions of both parties can get out of control at times, as each realizes that they may no longer have the same role in their child’s or children’s lives in the future. However, it is important to keep a calm, rational demeanor throughout child custody. By working with an attorney, you can be guided through this process and help to prove to the court where the child’s best interests truly lie. When the court chooses between two parents, it strives to make the decision in favor of the child’s well being. These criteria are outlined below:
What is in the Child’s Best Interest?
The court has tremendous power to shape the rest of your and your child’s life. But what does the court look at when choosing one parent over the other to provide sole custody, or when deciding whether joint custody is appropriate? The New York court system analyzes the following information to help make the decision in the child’s best interests:
- Mental and physical health of each parent;
- Potential criminal history, domestic violence history, or child abuse history of each parent;
- Proximity of each parent’s home to high quality schools;
- Relationships with other relatives in each home;
- Parenting skills and weakness of each parent;
- Work schedules of each parent;
- Proximity of grandparents or other potential caregivers to each parent’s home;
- Ability of each parent to provide food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, and other essentials;
- Whether the child had a primary caregiver before;
- Who is best able to provide for any special needs of the child;
- Willingness of each parent to cooperate in court; and
- The child’s preference, depending on the situation.