Parents addressing child custody concerns may have many questions about how child custody is determined. Child custody determinations are based on what is in the best interests of the child which is why divorcing couples should be familiar with what that means for their child and their family.

Child custody factors

What is in the best interests of the child is based on an evaluation of a variety of different factors. The factors help the parents and the family law court arrive at a child custody arrangement that supports the child’s overall safety and well-being. Factors used to determine what is in the best interests of the child include:

  • The age of the child;
  • The health of the child;
  • The emotional ties between the child and both its parents;
  • The ability of the parents to care for the child emotionally, physically and financially;
  • The child’s ties to school, home and their community; and
  • Any history of family violence or substance abuse.

Determination of custody

Both the physical custody and legal custody of the child must be determined by carefully considering these factors to decide what is best for that child. Parents are encouraged to work together to develop a child custody arrangement that is best for their child. Either type of child custody can be sole or joint depending on what is best for the child.

What is in the best interests of the child must come first which is why it is helpful for divorcing parents to be familiar with the best interests of the child standard and the factors used to determine what is best for the child in each unique situation. Both divorcing parents and the family law court should remain focused on what is in the best interests of the child when deciding upon a child custody arrangement.