It’s important to go into a child custody case knowing what to expect and what a judge will want to see to decide the outcome of the case. Coming into a case with realistic expectations and a clear goal in mind of what you want will help take some of the headaches out of this process.
Sometimes, in child custody cases, both parents are seeking sole custody. Unless one parent is majorly unfit, meaning they have a history of abuse towards you or your children, deciding which parent is awarded full custody won’t be a quick decision for a judge.
If you and your ex-spouse are seeking joint or shared custody, you should still expect several court visits and appointments will be necessary to a judge’s decision-making process.
Judges award custody based on a parent’s ability to provide for the well-being of a child. This means they look at how a parent provides these three criteria to their child:
- Home and Basic Needs – A judge wants to see a child will be well-fed and clothed. You should be able to show you provide a safe, clean, and comfortable environment provided for your child. Does the child have their own room or bed? Do they have places for their own things? Do they have regular spaces for play, homework areas, and mealtimes? These are some of the details a judge will want to know.
- Social-Emotional Safety– A judge wants to know your child has a solid support network of family and friends nearby. Having extended family members who play a part in the child’s life helps a judge see support for the child. School and neighborhood friends to play with show a child is connected to their home environment.
- Psychological Support – Knowing a parent is supportive of their child’s mental health and well-being is essential to awarding custody. A judge wants to know a parent is appropriate in setting boundaries, expectations, and giving comfort to their child. If a parent uses manipulative tactics with their child or crosses the line in talking negatively about the other parent to their child or in front of them, they are causing mental or emotional stress on the child or both. If there’s any chance the child will experience abuse from a parent, custody is out. Another major red flag is if the child could witness any domestic violence in your home.
Besides looking for evidence of these three factors within each parent’s home and interactions, a judge wants to know which parent has been the primary caretaker of the child thus far. They will also want to know if each parent is able to provide enough supervision for the child at home, so work schedules are also a consideration. Each parent’s personal habits are also part of the decision.
Knowing how a judge awards custody will help you feel prepared for your case. We’re ready to help with our divorce and child custody lawyers in Frisco, TX on the line for a free brief phone consultation. Call us today at 972-387-9955.