What Factors Do Courts Consider When Deciding Child Custody?

One of the concerns for divorcing North Carolina parents is how child custody is decided. It is important to be informed about the many factors that courts take into consideration when establishing custody.

The relationship between parent and child

Each parent’s relationship with their child is unique and courts look at many relevant factors. These include:

  • Each parent’s support of their child’s emotional, medical and physical needs
  • The kind of home environment each parent can provide
  • The strength of the bond between the parent and the child
  • The parent’s willingness to support the ongoing development of the child’s relationship with the other parent

Children’s best interests are at the center

At the forefront of the court’s decision are the child’s best interests. Courts will also sometimes allow children of certain ages to testify toward their own wishes about who they want to live with. Additionally, courts will also look at how the children will be affected or adapt to changes in living situations, school and extra-curricular scenarios. The children’s ages as well as who has been the primary caretaker until the split will also be considered when deciding custody cases.

Mental and physical health of both parents and children

In making the decision regarding a child’s living situation, the court will also look at each parent’s mental and physical health as this can affect their ability to provide a safe home for bringing up their children. Similarly, the court will review any evidence of past child abuse or domestic violence present in the family dynamic.

There are a lot of factors that go into a child custody decision. For some families, this might result in a shared custody situation, with both parents equally involved. In others, one parent might get primary custody and the other parent might be awarded visitation rights.

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