Child custody is a big deal for divorcing parents which is why it is valuable for them to be familiar with the factors used to determine child custody. Child custody is determined based on an evaluation of factors used to decide what is in the best interests of the child.

Factors used to determine the best interests of the child

What is in the best interests of the child is a guiding principle for all child custody decisions. It is unique in each situation and is informed by careful consideration of a variety of factors including:

  • Maintaining stability and continuity for the child;
  • Parenting duties performed by each parent;
  • The physical and mental health conditions of the parents;
  • Whether or not one parent is more likely to be attentive to the child’s needs and maintaining a loving and nurturing relationship with the child;
  • If one parent is more likely to encourage a loving relationship between the child and the other parent;
  • The child’s relationships with siblings and extended family;
  • The proximity of the parents’ homes;
  • The child’s wishes;
  • Any history of abuse or risk of harm to the child in the household;
  • Any other factor that is considered relevant.

How the family court functions in child custody matters

The family law court will use these factors to determine child custody, including physical custody of the child and legal custody of the child. Any child custody arrangement will be aimed at achieving the child’s overall well-being and ensuring a safe environment for the child. Parents can work together using what is in the best interests of their child to develop the best possible child custody arrangement which is why it is helpful to be familiar with.