Who will be awarded custody of children is of significant concern during any divorce. Knowing how child custody determinations are made can help parents reach the best custody arrangement possible for their family.
Child custody decisions are generally made based on what is in the best interests of the child. A variety of factors determine what is in their best interest. There are different child custody arrangements that may be made based on this. Child custody arrangements can be sole or joint between the parents. Physical custody and legal custody must both be determined. Shared custody is preferred to provide as much contact with both parents as possible, but sole custody may be awarded to one parent when it is determined to be the best option.
When making a child custody determination, the court may consider which parent is the primary caretaker of the child. The court may award one parent physical custody of the child or one parent may be awarded legal custody of the child. If parents are jointly awarded legal custody, they will have to work together to share the responsibility of making important decisions related to the child’s education, healthcare and religious upbringing.
As always, parents are encouraged to reach a child custody determination whenever possible but, if they are unable to reach an agreement, the family law court is available to help them. Because the family law court provides a variety of resources to help families resolve their custody concerns, it is important for them to be familiar with what they are.