As the father of a child, or children in a child custody dispute, you have every right to claim custody. This right can be diminished or enhanced depending on a number of factors. The court normally looks at the “best interest” test to determine what will be best for the child. The truth is, mothers receive custody more often than the father. But this does not mean you have no hope. There really is no rule that mothers should receive custody. The court will look at the following factors to determine if you should be given custody:
1. Your emotional tie with your child or children
2. Your mental and physical health
3. Your ability to provide a stable and nurturing environment for your child or children
4. Your child’s preference between you and your spouse, if the child is old enough or mature enough to decide
5. Your willingness to encourage a good relationship with your ex-spouse, should you be awarded custody
6. Your child’s or children’s age or ages.
7. Your child or children’s gender
8. Your child’s mental and physical health
9. Your history of child neglect or abuse
10. Your ability to give the child the necessities of life, such as food, housing, clothes, medical care, etc.
11. Your ability to continue the child’s current routine of school, community, etc.
In order to determine these factors the court may order home studies and psychological evaluations. These are mainly to see how the child behaves with each parent. You may notice that your financial situation is not a large factor here. Aside from providing basic needs, the court is more concerned with which parent is a better fit for the child. The financial aspects of achieving what is best are then settled through child support and property distribution awards.
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