What Are Factors a Judge May Consider in Determining Child Custody?
If you have been unable to successfully resolve your child custody matter outside of the courtroom, you may be wondering what specific factors a judge might consider when making a custody determination.
In North Carolina, judges apply “the best interest of the child” standard when making a determination of custody. This legal standard is difficult to define because judges are allowed to consider all relevant factors presented to them.
Generally, the following factors are used in making a determination of a child’s best interest:
- The needs of the child;
- The ability of the parents to meet the needs of the child, including mental and physical well-being;
- The wishes and desires of the minor child, depending on the child’s age and maturity;
- The relationship between the child and each parent, as well as the child’s relationship with siblings, step-siblings and other members of the parties’ household units;
- The living conditions of each parent’s residence;
- Distance between the child’s school and each party’s residence;
- School, work, and extracurricular activity schedules of the minor child and the parties;
- The ability of parents to provide for the child in all aspects;
- How well the child physically, emotionally, and mentally thrives with each parent;
- Any substance abuse issues either parent has;
- The parent’s ability and willingness to co-parent and work with one another on issues relating to the child
Because judges are allowed broad discretion in deciding how much weight and credibility to give each factor presented to them, it is critical to have a knowledgeable and skilled attorney representing your interest. An experienced attorney understands what evidence is required for a judge to make a well-informed decision and how to present your evidence effectively.
When your child’s welfare is at stake, there is no substitute for an experienced attorney. At Tharrington Smith, our attorneys encourage resolution through all alternative avenues when possible. But we understand issues surrounding your child are sensitive and sometimes most contentious. If your matter cannot be resolved outside of court, we will strategically advocate on your behalf in court.
Call the family law team to schedule a consultation about your divorce and custody matter. We can help.