It’s fairly common for parents to disagree on how and where children should be raised after a marriage ends through divorce. If you and the other parent cannot reach an agreement in regards to child custody, you may have to go to court. When this happens, the judge will weigh the most important factor in your child custody decision: the best interests of your children.
Physical and mental wellbeing
The physical and mental health of your children is a key component of their overall best interests. If there is any sign of abuse, violence, mistreatment or even abandonment, a judge could remove a parent’s custodial rights. Similarly, if the judge notices signs that a parent is unfit to have the responsibility of a child or presents a potential risk to the child’s wellbeing, it could impact the custody decision.
The court will also consider how dedicated each parent is to the kids. If one parent makes it clear that the wellbeing of his or her children comes first, it can signal to a judge that this individual has the best interests of the children in mind.
Involvement in children’s lives
When assessing which parent can provide a healthier living arrangement for children, the judge will look for signs of parental involvement. This may include familiarity with the child’s schedule, friends, academics, activities, medical history and interests. When a parent demonstrates this knowledge, it indicates to the court that the parent understands the wants and needs of the kids.
Parental strengths and weaknesses
As the judge hears from both parents, he or she will also be listening for signals that indicate strong character and communication. Keeping the best interests of the children in mind, the judge will typically want children to remain in the custody of a parent who knows how to appropriately communicate and foster positive relationships with others. The judge will also consider which parent will act as a positive role model for the kids.
For additional information and guidance on this important issue, meet with an experienced Tampa Bay child custody attorney at the Law Office of K. Dean Kantaras.