Arizona parents, often, wonder about how the court will determine which parent gets custody of the children. A family law court will use the “best interests of the children” test. However, you may be in the dark about exactly what that means.
How the best interests test operates
The best-interests test is a very flexible one and allows the judge to consider a multitude of factors in reaching their decision. Presumably, the most important thing that a judge will consider is each parent’s ability to provide their children’s needs on a daily basis. In part, this looks at which parent was providing the majority of the care directly prior to the divorce. Courts want to minimize the disruption in the children’s lives and do not want to upend the situations that they were used to before the parents separated.
Other factors of the best interests test
Courts will also look to more specific factors related to each case. Of course, they will look at the parent’s relationship with their children and would consider any allegations of abuse. Beyond that, a judge would scrutinize each parent’s willingness to promote a relationship between the child and the other parent. The last thing that a court wants is for children to be cut off from their parents. The judge would also consider the living conditions at each parent’s home and whether they are good for the child.
A child custody attorney knows how to best argue in front of the judge why you should be the custodial parent. Custody hearings are complicated and, often, contentious. When your time with your child is on the line, you need the legal help that an attorney may offer. Many people struggle to tell their own story. Beyond that, court can be an intimidating place for anyone.