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Custody Factors the Court Must Address During a Custody Trial

Shabbick & Associates, PC Nov. 15, 2023

Facing child custody issues can be an emotionally taxing and challenging time. The process can stir a plethora of emotions, from anxiety and uncertainty to deep-seated concerns about the welfare and future of your child. At Shabbick & Associates, PC, we understand that a custody trial is a significant event in the lives of both parents and children. It's a legal process where the court determines who will take care of the child, where the child will live, and how decisions about the child's upbringing will be made. The outcome directly impacts the child's well-being and future, making it a crucial proceeding for separated or divorced parents. 

We understand that every decision you make is driven by your love and concern for your child's well-being, and we recognize the strength it takes to navigate such a sensitive situation. Don't face it alone. Instead, reach out to us today for guidance

What Do the Courts Consider?

Courts take numerous factors into account when determining child custody. The driving principle behind these decisions is the "best interest of the child". This means that the courts primarily aim to ensure that the child's welfare, safety, and health are prioritized.  

Best Interests of the Child 

The guiding principle in any custody trial is the best interests of the child. This means the court takes into account several factors to decide which custody arrangement will most benefit the child's overall well-being and development. As child custody attorneys, we advocate for our clients, but we also acknowledge that the court's primary concern is ensuring the child's physical and emotional needs are met, their relationships with each parent are considered, and potential risks or challenges in each parent's care are evaluated. 

Physical and Mental Health of Parents 

The court takes into account the physical and mental health of the parents when making custody decisions. It's important to understand that every family situation is unique. The court evaluates whether each parent is physically capable of caring for the child and also considers the mental health of the parents as it can impact their ability to provide a stable environment. 

Stability of Home Environment 

Creating a stable home environment is essential for your child's growth and development. During a custody trial, the court thoroughly evaluates each parent's living conditions, the presence of a supportive and nurturing atmosphere, and the ability to maintain a consistent routine for the child. The court also assesses the stability of the child's current living situation and the potential impact of changing their routine. 

Child's Preference  

In certain cases, the court may consider the child's own preferences regarding custody, depending on their age and maturity. We often find that older children, especially teenagers, might have a say in the custody arrangements. However, it's important to note that while the court may consider the child's preference, they will always prioritize the child's best interests. 

Ability to Provide for the Child's Needs 

The court will evaluate each parent's ability to meet the child's basic needs, including food, clothing, shelter, and education. This assessment includes examining the financial resources of each parent and their willingness to prioritize the child's needs above their own. The court considers factors like employment stability, income, and the ability to meet the child's ongoing needs. 

Willingness to Foster a Relationship with the Other Parent 

The court values parents who promote a healthy relationship between the child and the other parent. It's essential to demonstrate a willingness to encourage regular and meaningful contact between the child and the other parent. This includes promoting open communication, respecting the other parent's role, and avoiding actions that could negatively impact the child's relationship with the other parent. 

Any History of Domestic Violence or Abuse 

Any history of domestic violence or abuse is a significant factor in custody decisions. Protecting the child's safety and well-being is of vital importance to the court. If there's evidence of abuse, the court may limit or restrict the abusive parent's custody rights to ensure the child's safety. 

How an Attorney Can Help Through the Process

Navigating the intricacies of a custody trial can be a daunting task. This is where the role of an experienced family law attorney becomes vital. An attorney can guide you through the legal process, offering expert advice tailored to your specific situation. They help to prepare the necessary documentation, make persuasive arguments in court, and negotiate terms on your behalf, always striving to secure the best possible outcome for you and your child.  

Furthermore, your child custody attorney can help alleviate some of the emotional stress associated with custody trials by providing objective advice and maintaining focus on the legal aspects of the case. They understand the significance of these proceedings and are committed to protecting your rights while advocating for the best interests of your child. 

Championing Child Custody with Compassion and Commitment

A custody trial involves many considerations, with the child's best interests at the forefront. At Shabbick & Associates, PC, we're here to guide you through this complex process, focusing on promoting a nurturing and supportive environment for your child's growth and development. Remember, each family situation is unique, and understanding these key factors can help prepare you for a custody trial. If you are in the Bethlehem or Palmerton, Pennsylvania, area, or the surrounding areas of Lehigh County, Northampton County, Carbon County, or more, reach out to our firm today for support.