Arizona parents who are going through a divorce or separating may sometimes be able to come up with an agreement about child custody outside of the courtroom. If parents are unable to reach an agreement, however, a family court judge will have to make the final decision on child custody issues. Either way, the main goal of a child custody determination should always be to come up with the solution that is in the child’s best interests.
In child custody cases, it is usually assumed that maintaining a healthy relationship with both parents is in the best interests of the child. However, coming up with a workable plan for maintaining these relationships can be challenging. There are also other considerations, such as geographical factors or a history of abuse, that will need to be taken into account.
While determining what is in a child’s best interests, a judge may consider a range of different factors. If children are mature enough to express their wishes, a judge may take their feelings into account. Other factors that are usually examined in a child custody case include the mental health of both parents, the child’s adjustment to their school and community and the child’s relationship with other members of the household besides their parents.
Parents who are going through a child custody dispute have a lot to lose if their position is not well represented and articulated during court proceedings. During this stressful time, a parent might want to seek the help of a family law attorney to help ensure that the desired outcome is ordered by the judge.