Child custody disputes, even when they go relatively smoothly, can be difficult and emotional. It should therefore come as little surprise that the truly ugly disputes can be life-altering. Given that dynamic, it is imperative the attorney at your side has both the hard skills to advocate for you in a courtroom setting and the soft skills required to honestly and compassionately navigate through the difficult conversations you will certainly be forced to have throughout the child custody process. In essence, I believe it is important that you mesh with your attorney on both a personal and professional level. As someone who has worn both hats as a prosecutor and defense attorney, I realize this dynamic and strive to excel at both, believing one without the other will make the process significantly more difficult for you.
It’s often been said that a person’s life changes when he or she becomes a parent. That the child or children immediately become the center of that individual’s life. Although experience has taught me that isn’t always the case, I think it can be said that for most parents, that statement couldn’t be more accurate. That dynamic coupled with the very human reality that many relationships don’t last creates the need to decide what to do with the children when two parents can no longer live together. With that, I want to go over the factors a court is going to consider when deciding who the child should be with. Keep in mind, there are about as many permutations with regards to what a custody schedule can look like as there are different disputes. But, the below factors give a starting point. They highlight what will be important to a court. They, in the end, set out what the court is going to consider when deciding what is in the best interest of the child.