There are many reasons why a parent could lose custody and parental rights. The court always puts the best interest of the child, and a Suffolk County-based divorce attorney explains that if you hope to gain full custody of the children, you should know the factors that could influence the court’s decision.
The custodial parent
If your objective is to be the custodial parent and exercise final decision-making authority for your children, then you must be aware of the criteria and processes the court uses to make decisions on custodial battles. The laws in your state may be different from that of others.
Are you fit to raise your child?
Before you could be granted custodial rights to raising your children after the divorce, the court would need to determine if you have the psychological and financial capability for the job. An evaluator would be assigned to evaluate your parental fitness, and this could include investigating past relationships, arrests, and work performance.
An evaluator’s main task is to determine whether a parent is fit to raise a child. In a divorce settlement, dominant emotional and financial concerns can be unnerving. Nevertheless, you must put your best foot forward and make the evaluator see that you can perform parental duties adequately.
Areas for evaluation
A primary criterion to be evaluated in resolving custodial matters is how effectively a parent communicates to a child. A parent must not only be able to communicate with them, but also understand what they need even if the children are incapable of expressing it clearly. A disconnection between a parent and a child could be grounds for the court to decide if a parent is unfit.
Another area evaluators observe are age-appropriate limitations set by parents. For instance, does a teenage child have a curfew and what kind? Are children allowed to access the Internet, and how much supervision is provided, if any? When an evaluator sees a red flag, the custodial battle may lean towards the other parent’s favor.
There are many other areas to be evaluated, including the history of childcare involvement, history of child abuse or domestic violence, mental illness, social functioning, and how a parent would resolve conflict with the other. The evaluator observes the child’s attitudes towards the parent being observed and considers these behaviors in the final reckoning.
The best interests of the child
A custody battle is almost always complicated. Nevertheless, the court is clear on one thing—the child’s best interests should be upheld at all times.
The court bases its decision on a list of criteria, which include the ability of the parent to provide love, guidance, and necessities, including medical care. The relationship between the child and the parent and the child’s preference in whose care he or she should be assigned is a considerable factor. The court takes into consideration the physical and mental fitness of the parent, as well as the moral fitness of the parent. You can go through the criteria used by the courts in your state with your attorney to see where you stand.