Family Law: The Three Factors That Affect Child Custody

mother and son

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Marriages don’t always work out, even if both parties try their best to make it work. People change over time. Sometimes, it can lead to irreconcilable differences and, in turn, rifts in a couple’s relationship. 

That’s why some couples choose to get a divorce instead of staying unhappily together. Divorce can be an emotionally taxing process, even when the decision is amicable. There are many legal things to consider, from asset division to child custody settlement. 

Fathers may be concerned that they hold lesser parents’ rights than their child’s mother, which might be true in the past because of the Tender Years Doctrine. Today, however, the court adopts a gender-neutral stance in determining child custody and parenting time. Instead, these are some of the factors they consider.

Relationship between the Child and Parent

First is the relationship between the child and the parent, particularly their affection and emotional ties to each other. Now, this is where the mother tends to weigh in more since they’re often the ones that tend to the child after birth. On the other hand, fathers get more chances to bond during a kid’s toddler years.

There’s the parents’ relationship with each other to consider as well. Their behaviour gives the court an idea of how they’ll interact with the child in the future. A civil and respectful parent has a higher chance of being selected for custody.

Some fathers don’t get the chance to bond with their child more if the divorce happens during the kid’s early years. Fortunately, the next factor might give them better favorability in court.

Capability of the Parent for Childcare

If both parents are emotionally close to the child, the next factor to consider is their capacity to care for the child. That means the parent should be capable of fulfilling their child’s needs. This requirement includes physical necessities such as food and shelter, and mental and emotional support.

Now, being a single parent comes with its own set of difficulties, some of which may make holistically caring for your child challenging. No one said parents have to do it alone, though. Getting help from extended family and nannies is also an option for divorcees to consider as they work on their childcare plans.

If the parents are divorcing amicably, they might want to consider going for joint custody instead. They can work together to figure out a visitation schedule that can adequately accommodate both parents’ lifestyles.

Preferences and Personal Views of the Child

Last but not least, a factor the court considers is the child’s preference. But, this only counts when the court can reasonably and objectively ascertain the child’s opinions. The child’s age and living environment are the primary influencers of their preferences.

Younger children tend to favour their mothers. Moreover, their decisions are usually driven by emotion, not careful thought and consideration. Older children will have a better mental capacity to deliberate over their situation and express their opinion properly.

The court can employ child psychologists to communicate with the child if necessary. However, parents should remember that they should be unbiased and avoid pressuring the child to decide with or without a professional.

Conclusion

The divorce process is long and tricky to navigate, so it wouldn’t be well for the parties involved to rush through it. Parents should take time to work through it as objectively as possible, whether through separation agreements or numerous mediations. 

Most importantly, parents must remember that child custody isn’t a game of tug-of-war to win. It’s a procedure that determines what to do for the child’s best interests. Parents who keep this in mind as they proceed will settle their divorce with fewer issues and negative feelings.

If you’re looking for a family lawyer in Langley to assist you with your divorce, you might want to consider Dreyer Davison Lawyers LLP. We offer a comprehensive set of family law services that can fulfill any of your legal needs. Our experienced team of lawyers strives to provide clients with only the best, so you will always face your case prepared.

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