• Kevin G Williamson

Child Custody Considerations

When making a decision on child custody, what do the laws say (and what do Judge’s really care about).

Leave it to Beaver (pictured above) had 234 episodes. Episode 235, “the secret episode”, covered June and Ward’s breakup and custody dispute. This is why the producers canceled the show; they didn’t want to you see that the Beavers were like us; normal folk with normal problems.

All joking aside, we often come to custody battles where you have two good parents. If neither party is a drunk, or a pedophile or works crazy hours, how do judges really decide how custody should be divided? The law says you have to look at the best interest of the children, taking into consideration which parent can provide for the child’s:  (1) physical, (2) mental, (3) emotional, (4) moral and (5)religious needs.

However, that is not so simple. How do you determine what will be in the best interest of the child? Here are some things the Judge will likely take into consideration: (a) the mental and physical well-being (or lack of it) of each parent, (b) each parent’s caretaking capacities, (c) the role of each parent thus far in taking care of the child, (d) the age of the child, (e) the child’s relationship to each parent, (f) the time that each parent has available to spend with the child, (g) the environment that the parent can create for the child, (h) the presence of siblings in the family and the siblings’ relationship to each parent and to each other, (i) the willingness of each parent to keep the other parent involved in the child’s life and to facilitate the other parent’s access to the child, and (j) each parent’s adult relationships including non-marital sexual relations.

Now, that’s a lot to think about. Put yourself in the Judge’s shoes. People you will meet for 10 minutes, under the most stressful set of circumstances you can imagine, have put the fate for their children in your hands. That’s truly a heavy burden, especially when you have two good, decent parents (See June and Ward above).

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