Whether establishing parenting time arrangements or modifying them, parents can disagree if they have contradicting opinions on how to raise their children. Sometimes, these disputes can escalate, severely affecting relationships within the household. In these situations, a judge can interfere to help make parenting time and child custody decisions.
Still, the judge cannot make orders or modifications based on each parent’s wishes. They must maintain impartiality and prioritize the child’s welfare. In doing so, they must consider the following factors:
- The relationships between all involved parties, including the parents and the child: This consideration includes the child’s emotional ties and affection for their parents.
- Each parent’s capacity to meet the child’s needs: It pertains to their ability to love, guide and contribute to the child’s upbringing.
- Each parent’s financial capacity to provide the child’s essentials: It includes food, clothes, medical requirements and other material necessities.
- Stability of the child’s life and environment: This factor covers the child’s access to a secure and safe home, including support while making life adjustments.
- Permanence of the family’s setup: This detail concerns the child’s family life and ability to maintain relationships with siblings or other relatives in the household.
- Each parent’s physical and mental wellness: It also includes elements affecting their ability to raise the child, such as their capacity to be morally fit.
- Details about the child’s life at home, school and their community: The setup could affect whether a parent can supervise and oversee these aspects of the child’s life.
- The child’s wishes: It may only be applicable if allowed by the judge.
- Each parent’s willingness to encourage the child’s relationship with the other parent: These connections are crucial elements that could significantly influence the child’s life.
In some cases, the judge can consider domestic abuse or violence incidents before finalizing child custody decisions.
Meeting the child’s needs
Depending on the child’s needs, other factors can also be relevant if deemed appropriate in court. Ultimately, the judge often serves as the child’s advocate, especially in high-conflict situations that may pose safety and health risks.