When a couple that shares a child separates or divorces, one of the issues they will have to reach an agreement on is the custody of their child. And this tends to be one of the most challenging and hard-fought battles during the divorce or separation process.
Of course, the court will prefer that parents come up with a parenting plan that works for everyone involved. However, if this is not possible, then the court may have to step in and make a ruling.
At all times, the family court will place the child’s best interest first, as outlined in Arizona child custody law when determining the custody arrangement that serves the child’s best interest.
Here are two factors the court will take into account when issuing a child custody order.
Ability to provide for the child
Providing for the child means the parent should be able to provide a clean, safe environment for the child. Additionally, the parent should understand and provide for the child’s needs such as food, shelter, clothing and schooling among others. Besides provisions, the parent should also be willing and ready to establish a healthy relationship with the child.
Stability of the home
Before ruling on a custody arrangement, the court will take into account the child’s current home situation. This includes things like a stable home environment, a regular schedule as well as a good routine for the child.
Divorce impacts children differently. Disrupting or moving the child into a new home following the divorce can increase their anxiety and result in serious emotional damage. Thus, the judge will weigh whether moving the child to a new home or disrupting their regular schedule will negatively affect them before ruling on custody.
Married or not, a couple that has a child together will have to deal with custody issues should the relationship come to an end. Understanding how the family court rules on custody can help you take appropriate steps to safeguard your child’s best interest during your divorce or separation.