Child custody disputes often involve a high level of both conflict and emotion. The court system is challenged with balancing the competing interests of the parties and the best interest of the child(ren).
The courts are given specific guidelines to consider when making child custody determinations, these guidelines include:
- The desires of the parents as to the custody and parenting plan submitted by both parties.
- The needs of the chil(ren) for frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with both parents and the ability and willingness of the parents to provide for the needs of the children.
- The interaction and interrelationships of the child(ren) and the parents, siblings, and others whom the child(ren) have significant relationships.
- Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, continuing and meaning contact with the other parent.
- The child's adjustment to their home, school, community, etc.
- The mental and physical health of all individuals, which can include prior incidents of domestic violence. Custody and visitation rights shall be ordered in a manner that best protects the child(ren).
- The intention of either parent to relocate the principal residence of the child(ren).
- The wishes of a child as to the child's custodian.