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3 factors that influence child custody decisions

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2024 | Divorce

Like all parents, you want what’s best for your children. When you decided to file for a divorce, you may have worried about the disruption and stress the decision might cause in your children’s lives. It’s understandable to be concerned or feel anxious, especially if you’re headed into an Arizona court for child custody proceedings.

When you and your spouse cannot resolve child custody issues on your own, a family court judge can make decisions on your behalf. Every state has its own custody guidelines, although the judge overseeing your case may act at the court’s discretion to make decisions based on the unique merits of your case. Most judges consider several primary factors to determine what’s best.

An Arizona judge considers these factors in a child custody case

The following list is not extensive. There are numerous other issues that may be relevant to a child custody case. However, the factors shown here are usually considered when the court is making a custody decision in a divorce:

  • Mental and physical health of each parent
  • Whether one or both parents were primary caretakers before divorce
  • Best interests of the children

In a case where a parent has not been involved in a child’s life during marriage or has been emotionally or physically abusive, it’s unlikely that the court will find it necessary to grant that parent custody after divorce. If both parents are healthy and have actively shared in providing for their children’s needs and creating a strong bond with them, then a judge might determine that a shared custody arrangement is best.

Requesting sole custody of children in a divorce

If you have reason to believe that your ex is unfit for custody, you can bring the matter to the court’s attention. You may request sole physical and legal custody of your children. In doing so, however, you must be prepared to show just cause. This means the court expects you to provide evidence that demonstrates a legitimate reason why your children would be better off in your sole custody than in a shared custody arrangement with your ex.

Factors of consideration that may be relevant when seeking sole custody include things like domestic violence, parental substance abuse, parental incapacitation and many other issues. If the court is convinced that sole custody is best for your kids, the Arizona judge overseeing your case will grant your request. It’s important to remember that you and your ex must obey the court’s decision, even if the ruling is not in your favor. If you believe a decision is unfair, you may file an appeal.