This blog recently discussed the importance of having a summer parenting plan. It is also beneficial for parents contemplating the child custody process to be familiar with how child custody decisions are made.

Child custody decisions are determined based on what is in the best interests of the child. This standard is used to guide child custody decision-making so that the child custody agreement that is reached is in the child’s best interest and supports their overall safety and well-being. A variety of different factors are used to help determine what is best for the child when developing a child custody arrangement and what will support the child’s emotional and physical development and growth.

Factors the family law court considers when determining what child custody arrangement will be in the child’s best interests includes the age and health of the child; the emotional ties between the parents and child; the ability of each of the parents to care for the child emotionally, physically and financially; the child’s ties to their home, school and community; and if there is any history of violence or substance abuse.

There are different types of child custody including physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to which parent the child lives with and legal custody refers to which parent makes important decisions for the child including education, religious and medical decisions. Both types of custody can be joint or sole custody. Parents should understand what child custody decisions are based on and remain focused on what is in the best interests of the child.