In a child custody case, a court will typically examine the following nine factors to determine the best outcome. It is important to note that every case is different, and each circumstance must be sifted through carefully before a final decision. Also, a court can decide to weigh some factors more heavily or find that some do not apply at all. Please review the following, “9 major factors in Determining Child Custody” (in no particular order).

1. The wishes of the child’s parents. 

What do the parents want? Do they have an ideal situation that they think will work best? Is it a fair and responsible proposition? 

2. The wishes of the child. 

In some cases, a child might be mature enough to voice their own opinion. After all, it is their life, and they might have a proposition that best suites themself. Typically this becomes a factor at the age of 12.

3. The interaction and interrelationship of the child with their parents, siblings, and third parties. 

All family relationships are worth consideration, especially when it comes to large families, twins, and other unique family scenarios. Perhaps there are various step-parents involved or geographic factors in play.

4. The child’s adjustment to their home school and community. 

The child’s health, stability, and safety are always the number one priority. Perhaps they have special needs requirements, or they have strong gravitation towards a particular school. Education is a major deciding factor for a child’s health and future.

5. The mental and physical health of the child. 

This a big one. The mental and physical health of a child should always be priority one. Perhaps the child is special needs and requires a stable or inclusive environment. Countless factors could play into this decision.

6. Love, affection, and contact between the child and other parties. 

This is a problematic factor to examine because it is difficult to make an accurate assumption. Usually, verbal testimonials and in-home examinations help a court make a decision.

7. The past pattern of involvement of parties with the child.

What is the history of this family and situation? Are there any former convictions or court appearances? Have the parents been previously divorced, or is there already a system in place that values time commitment and mutual support?

8. The physical proximity of the parties to each other.

Geographical constraints are a significant obstacle in a child custody case. Long distances can be troublesome for children, mainly when they are young. 

9. Each parent’s ability to place the needs of their child ahead of their own.

This factor is pretty self-explanatory. The affected child’s health, happiness, and well-being should always be priority one. The parent that reaffirms that will almost always win custody.