Child Custody and Parenting Time Factors in a Divorce

By
Sarah Richter Perky
5
minutes read
19.3.2024

Standard in Custody Matters

Custody and visitation determinations often hinge on subtle factors, including the parents' demeanor and credibility during the divorce proceedings themselves.  However, the paramount concern in a custody case is the welfare and best interest of the parties' minor children, the determination of which necessarily turns on the particular facts of each case.

Important Factors in Custody

The trial court is obligated to consider all the appropriate factors in reaching its decision regarding custody. These factors include:

  1. The strength, nature, and stability of the child's relationship with each parent, including whether one (1) parent has performed the majority of parenting responsibilities relating to the daily needs of the child;
  2. Each parent's or caregiver's past and potential future performance of parenting responsibilities, including the willingness and ability of each of the parents and caregivers to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and both of the child's parents, consistent with the best interest of the child. In determining the willingness of each of the parents and caregivers to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and both of the child's parents, the court shall consider the likelihood of each parent and caregiver to honor and facilitate court ordered parenting arrangements and rights, and the court shall further consider any history of either parent or any caregiver denying parenting time to either parent in violation of a court order;
  3. Refusal to attend a court ordered parent education seminar may be considered by the court as a lack of good faith effort in these proceedings;
  4. The disposition of each parent to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, education, and other necessary care;
  5. The degree to which a parent has been the primary caregiver, defined as the parent who has taken the greater responsibility for performing parental responsibilities;
  6. The love, affection, and emotional ties existing between each parent and the child;
  7. The emotional needs and developmental level of the child;
  8. The moral, physical, mental and emotional fitness of each parent as it relates to their ability to parent the child;
  9. The child's interaction and interrelationships with siblings, other relatives and step-relatives, and mentors, as well as the child's involvement with the child's physical surroundings, school, or other significant activities;
  10. The importance of continuity in the child's life and the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment;
  11. Evidence of physical or emotional abuse to the child, to the other parent or to any other person;
  12. The character and behavior of any other person who resides in or frequents the home of a parent and such person's interactions with the child;
  13. The reasonable preference of the child if twelve (12) years of age or older. The court may hear the preference of a younger child upon request. The preference of older children should normally be given greater weight than those of younger children;
  14. Each parent's employment schedule, and the court may make accommodations consistent with those schedules; and
  15. Any other factors deemed relevant by the court.

Contact Us

If you would like to discuss your family and how these factors may affect the custody arrangement for your children, please contact CPJ for a consultation.