Key Considerations in Child Custody Cases
If you are facing a divorce involving children, you may be experiencing concerns related to your child custody arrangements. If you and your divorcing spouse are unable to find common ground regarding these arrangements, the court will intervene on your behalf. While the court is always motivated by the involved children’s best interests, this is a broad definition that can be difficult to pin down. There are, however, some basic considerations that tend to guide the court’s decisions in these matters.
The Parents’ Wishes
First and foremost, the court will take you and your soon-to-be ex's wishes into consideration. If your wishes are fairly close, but you have encountered a sticking point or two along the way, the court will likely attempt to split the difference by meeting you in the middle. If, on the other hand, you both desire full custody of your shared children, your wishes will – in essence – cancel one another out, and the court will move on to other considerations.
Who Has Traditionally Taken Care of the Children?
The court is generally motivated to maintain the status quo – and not to make your children experience more upheaval than is strictly necessary. If one of you has been the primary parent – fulfilling the bulk of parenting duties – this will likely play a significant role in the court’s decision-making process. Parenting responsibilities in this context include:
Staying home with the children
Taking care of the children, including feeding, bathing, and dressing them
Transporting the children where they need to be, including to school and to medical appointments
Attending to all the details that go into raising happy, healthy children
The Home Environment
The court will carefully consider the living accommodations each of you can and/or will provide for the children. This includes factors such as the following:
The size of you and your ex’s homes
The cleanliness of you and your ex’s homes
Your separate living arrangements
The suitability of you and your ex’s homes (in relation to raising children)
you and your ex’s mental health status
Who Supports an Ongoing Relationship with the Other Parent?
The court’s fallback stance is that children are best served when they continue their relationships with both parents post-divorce. As such, the court will take it into careful consideration if one of you is deemed more amenable to facilitating an ongoing relationship between the children and their other parent. An especially spiteful or vindictive parent will typically be considered a bad bet when it comes to primary custody.
Do Not Wait to Consult with an Experienced Killeen Divorce Attorney
If you are facing divorce and have custody concerns, Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – proudly serving Killeen, Texas – understands the serious nature of these concerns and is committed to skillfully advocating on behalf of your parental rights and for child custody arrangements that work for you and your children. Your case is important, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.