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Factors a Judge Will Consider When Determining Child Custody

In every state, the “best interest of the child” is the main standard used to determine custody cases. But what exactly do judges consider as they determine what is in the best interest of the child?

Below are a few of the factors you can expect to play a role in your child custody case:

  • Age of children: There are some judges who will still favor the mothers if the children in a custody battle are extremely young. A nursing baby, for example, is much more likely to need to be with its mother each day.  However, we have recently seen a departure from this as many judges believe that the time should be shared by the parents.
  • Living situations: Judges will consider the living situations of each parent. If one parent will remain in the family home, for example, it could help minimize the turbulence the child experiences after post-divorce. If one parent will be living in a one-bedroom apartment or will be staying with a friend or family member for a while, it could be difficult for them to realistically provide the children with a place to live.
  • The children’s relationship with each parent: If the children have a clearly stronger bond with one parent over the other, for example, judges may look more favorably upon that parent as a guardian.
  • Parents’ willingness to work together: In general, judges want to see a willingness in the parents to cooperate with each other. A difficult parent is less likely to get primary custody of his or her children, especially if that parent is purposefully attempting to alienate the children from the other parent.
  • Child’s preference: In some cases, judges will take the wishes of older children (usually when it comes to children older than 12) into account when making a final decision. However, it is what is in the child’s best interests as which parent will ultimately be awarded custody.

To learn more about your options when it comes to child custody and other issues in New York, speak with a skilled family law and divorce lawyer at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP.