Custody Considerations: Step-By-Step -P2

Consideration #3: Factors and Preferences in the Custody Decision
Regardless of whether the custody decision is made by the parents' agreement or through a court decision, there are a number of factors that typically weigh on the decision-making process.
In almost all family court cases where child custody is at issue, considerations such as "Who is the child's primary caretaker?" and "What is in the child's best interests?" are of chief concern to the judge making the custody decision. The judge will also usually take a number of other factors into account, including the child's preferences in some cases. Even if the parents attempt to resolve a child custody and visitation through negotiation and settlement outside of court, it will help to have these same considerations and factors in mind in trying to come to an acceptable agreement, if for no other reason than to keep the negotiations focused on reaching outcomes that are in their children's best interest. Learn more:
  • Considering the Child's "Best Interests"
  • Who Is the Child's "Primary Caretaker"?
  • Child's Preferences
  • Child Custody and Religion
  • Impact of Homosexual Relationships
  • Impact of Non-Marital Sexual Relationships
Considerations in Non-Divorce Cases
While child custody and visitation issues arise most often as part of a divorce, parents going through a divorce are not the only people who might be involved in a child custody situation. Custody disputes can arise between unmarried parents; grandparents can seek to enforce their rights to visitation with their grandchildren; and in rare cases relatives or others having a close relationship with a child may seek to be awarded custody.