You often hear people talk about how the standard for a divorce court is to make decisions that are in the child’s best interests. This means that the parents’ wishes may come second if the judge decides that the child needs something other than what they want.

A common example is sole custody. One parent may want to have sole custody because he or she is angry about the divorce and, out of spite, wants to keep the child from the other parent. However, the court may realize that it is in the child’s best interests to see both parents and may rule for shared custody anyway.

Things that the court considers may include some of the following:

  • If the child has any special needs
  • If the parents have criminal records
  • If there is evidence of abuse
  • The age of the child
  • What the child desires
  • Parents’ proximity to the child’s school
  • Which parent’s schedule can follow more of the child’s routines
  • What is best for the child’s health, happiness and well-being
  • Any religious considerations
  • How close the child is with other family members, such as grandparents
  • The living situations of the parents
  • Both parents’ physical and mental health

These are just a few examples. Every case has its own set of details that must be considered carefully. The key is to realize that the court wants to do what is best for the child whenever possible and this will factor heavily into their decisions. Keep this in mind when looking into your own legal options.