If you no longer want to maintain a romantic relationship with your children’s other parent, you’ll have to determine child custody during the subsequent separation or divorce proceedings. While it’s possible to devise an arrangement that you both deem satisfactory, it’s more likely that emotions will run high. As such, disputes are essentially inevitable, and going to court may be the only way to resolve them. Should you end up before a judge, the following factors will influence the outcome of the case.
The Family Dynamic
Depending on the family dynamic, certain statutes or precedents may determine the initial custody arrangement. For example, if the parents were never married, the mother will likely be awarded sole custody. The father must then go through the proper legal channels to establish visitation or some kind of joint arrangement.
There are also scenarios in which neither parent will be awarded custody. If both parents are either unwilling or unable to provide a safe, healthy, and loving home for the children, the judge might deem it appropriate to award custody to a third party, like a grandparent, aunt, or uncle.
The Parents’ Situations
The judge is going to review each parent’s mental and physical health to determine if they can handle all that raising children entails. Their education, earning capacity, and career demands will also influence custody, as will their ability to provide a stable living environment for the children. Other factors that can impact the proceedings include each parent's relationship with the children and their willingness to co-parent.
The Children’s Best Interests
At the end of the day, the most critical factor in custody cases is the children’s best interests. A family law judge’s primary goal is to protect the kids involved and ultimately do what’s necessary to ensure they grow up in a safe and loving home.
If you’re facing a child custody battle in Washington, turn to McPherson & McPherson Attorneys at Law in Coupeville. Focusing primarily on family law, this firm has been helping parents and children throughout Island County resolve even the most contentious disputes since 1997. To learn more about their family law services, visit their website. To request a consultation, call (360) 678-4407.