More than likely, you are like most other Louisville parents in that you always have your child’s best interests in mind in everything you do. Even your decision to divorce may have involved considering how the current state of your marriage affects him or her. Perhaps you attempted to work out an amicable arrangement for custody with your future former spouse, but he or she wasn’t interested in taking the friendly approach.
Now, you must go to court in order to resolve your child custody issues. As part of that process, you will need to show the court that you have your child’s best interests at heart. Having to prove your ability to parent may seem offensive, but when you consider that the court must make a determination regarding the future of your child, it makes sense.
What does the court look for?
Even though courts may favor joint custody arrangements these days, they still use the best interests of the child standard when determining custody. To that end, the court will look to you for answers to the following questions, at a minimum:
- Does the custody arrangement you request keep your child safe? An arrangement that jeopardizes your child’s safety could involve numerous factors.
- Can you effectively provide for your child’s physical and emotional needs? The answer to this question involves your ability to feed, clothe, shelter, support, love and otherwise provide for your child’s needs.
- Can you maintain the consistency of your child’s routine? Courts often hesitate to disrupt a child’s life more than necessary, which includes taking them out of their school, moving them away from their friends and more.
- Do you have a strong bond with your child? The court considers the relationship you have with your child, such as how much time you spend with him or her.
- Are you the child’s primary caregiver? The court considers which parent tends to the child’s daily and other needs more.
Another point to remember is that the court will want to know that you can communicate, at least civilly, with your child’s other parent, so try not to bad mouth him or her in court. If you have a genuine concern, such as substance abuse, domestic abuse or some other factor that could make the other parent unfit, you should certainly bring it up to the court, but be prepared to show clear evidence of it.
Finally, with your child’s future at stake, you may want to make sure you are as prepared as possible for your custody hearing. You can increase your odds of this by consulting with an experienced child custody attorney.