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While it would be nice if parents could come to child custody decisions on their own during a divorce, it doesn’t always happen. When parents can’t reach common ground, it’s up to the judge to make the decision for them. Child custody cases can be quite tricky to predict. However, the judge may look at the following factors before deciding who should get custody.

The Relationship the Child Has With Each Parent

Before determining child custody, the judge may look at what kind of relationship each parent has with the child. He or she may want to know how much time the child has spent with each parent and who the child feels most comfortable around. For example, if one parent has been known to go out with friends on weekends instead of spending with the child, the judge could frown upon that and think twice about granting that parent full custody.l

Each Parent’s Mental and Physical Health

The judge will also want to look into each parent’s mental and physical health during a child custody battle. To create the most stable environment for a child, it’s important for the parent to be healthy both mentally and physically. If one parent, for example, suffers from severe depression, the judge may not think he or she is capable of providing the child with proper care and award custody to the other parent.

Each Parent’s Living Situation

Each parent’s living situation will also be taken into account in a child custody decision. The judge will want to assure that a parent lives in a safe neighborhood and has enough room in the home for the child before awarding custody. If a parent lives in a small apartment and can’t give the child his or her own room, the judge may decide that’s not the best living accommodations for the child.

The Child’s Preference

If a child is old enough (usually over 12), the judge may ask who he or she prefers to live with. In many cases, the judge will take the child into a private room to ask this questions so that he or she doesn’t feel unnecessary pressure from either parent.

Instances of Abuse or Neglect

If there is proof that a parent has either abused or neglected the child in the past, the judge will likely deny that parent custody. The judge may also decide to limit visitations with the child.

Each Parent’s Work Obligations

While being financially stable is certainly important for a child’s well-being, a parent might not be able to cater to the child’s emotional needs if he or she works very long hours. The judge may be more comfortable awarding custody to the parent whose work schedule doesn’t interfere with the time he or she spends with the child.

If you are currently going through a child custody battle, you should consider scheduling an appointment with a child custody lawyer Phoenix AZ residents trust to discuss your case.

Thank you to our contributors at Hildebrand Law for their insightful information on child custody.