Child custody matters are very serious because the decisions that are made impact the manner in which a child is reared. If it is left to the court to determine child custody issues, instead of the parents coming to an agreement, there are very specific things that the court will consider. Ultimately, the court must create a child custody order that is in the child's best interest.
The child's relationship with both parents is considered. The type of relationship and the types of interaction the child has with each parent matters. The child's wishes might be considered if the child is old enough and able to convey those wishes about how the child custody order should be structured.
The child's educational opportunities and social ties have to be considered. This ties in, at least partially, to having a stable home environment. This can mean a lot of different things, but it is crucial that the court determine how to provide a place for the child that is loving and stable.
In some cases, the court might opt to order joint custody, but there are some cases in which sole custody might be necessary. This would be the case if there are instances of drug usage, alcoholism or abuse with one of the parents. Those issues would have to be considered and addressed during the child custody case.
For the parents who are in the midst of the custody battle, understanding what is going on with the case is important. Everything from who the child will reside with to who is going to make decisions for the child must be considered when the parents split.
Source: FindLaw, "Child Custody Basics," accessed Dec. 09, 2016