What Factors Affect A Custody Case?

If you are going through a divorce, one of the most challenging aspects of the agreements your reach will be determining custody of children. It's common for both parents to have custodial rights, but one parent is usually named the primary custodian, and the other parent has visiting rights and the right to weigh on decisions about health and safety. If you're concerned about not getting the time you want with your child, you should know what sort of factors affect a custody case.

Courts consider a myriad of details when determining custody, but they always try to choose what would be in the best interest of the child. To make your case stronger, consider these common influencing factors:

1. Presence

You'll end up having more time with your children if you live closer to them. If your spouse got your house in the divorce, you should find a home in the same neighborhood and school district. This way, the children could potentially share time between your two homes without any disruption to their daily routines. Moving to another city, state, or even just across town, can affect a final custody ruling. Living close can also increase the amount of nights children can spend at your home, and if you get enough time at your own home, you can usually get reduced child support payments

2. Dependability

Make sure you continue to make an effort to show up for things like school concerts and sports games. You want to model your dependability for child care essentials like:

  • doctor's appointments. Would you be available to take your child to the doctor when needed? Make sure you know the names of your child's doctor and any medications that your child needs to take. 
  • teacher meetings. Know the names of your child's teachers, and be up-to-date on how each child is doing in school. You want to show that you're invested in how your child is performing in school.
  • being on time. When going for visits, taking your children on outings, or even just picking them up from school, always be on time, especially when court proceedings are happening. If you have preliminary arrangements for visits, stick to them by the book. 

Reliability is major factor in determining custody time arrangements. Be as reliable as possible. 

3. Financial Security

You don't have to be rich to win more time with your children, but you should have a history of good employment, timely bill pay, and reduced debt. Show that you can take care of the financial needs of your children. You might be able to offer quality health insurance through your employment, more opportunities for extra-curricular activities, and better housing. If you don't have a job, get one and keep it. Even if the job does not pay much, having one is essential for the realities of a custody case. 

4. Child Support

If you have already been ordered to pay child support and alimony, do not skimp on payments or skip them. Not paying child support is a simple way to kiss your entire case goodbye, even if you are a strong candidate in all other areas. 

5. Relationships

Finally, do everything you can to keep the bond strong with your children. Spend quality time together. Go on outings. Make sure you know the issues that each child is facing. Who is your teenage daughter dating? Why is your son struggling in school? You should have an understanding of your child's emotional needs and be able to show how you can meet them as a parent. 

For more information, talk to a family law firm