Factors in Determining Child Custody Arrangements

In just about any court, a child custody arrangement will be put together with the best interests of the child in mind. But what exactly are those interests that courts will attempt to cover? 

Here are some of the primary factors in determining child custody arrangements: 

  • The age of the children. Judges are much more likely, for example, to put a nursing baby with their mother.
  • Parents’ living situations. Judges want to be sure that children will have a sense of stability in their lives. If they can stay in their family home, that is a favorable result. Stability in living situation must be adequately displayed by the parties.
  • Parental cooperation. Your record and willingness to support the other parent’s relationship with the children is important. If you bad-mouth your spouse in front of your children or interfere with visitation, the court will look upon that with disfavor.
  • Parents’ relationship with the children. Judges will consider the kind of relationship each parent had with the child before the divorce. It’s not unusual for parents to take a strong interest in the children after the divorce as a power play when they were previously not particularly invested in their children’s lives.
  • Presence of abuse or neglect. A demonstrated history of abuse or neglect will not work in the favor of the party who behaved as such.
  • Children’s preferences. Judges may consider the wishes of the children if they are older, but the ultimate decision lies with the courts. There is no specific age when a child’s preferences are considered. The determination of whether a child’s preferences will be considered lied with the judge. 

These are just some of the factors a court will consider when making custody and visitation determinations. For more information and guidance on how child custody arrangements are determined, speak with a skilled Minnesota divorce attorney at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

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