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After a separation or divorce, it can be a challenge to determine child custody and the new schedule that will be used in the family unit. For many people who are going before a judge, it can be difficult to determine how the child custody will be divided. Although each situation is different, there are a few ways that the parental competency will be evaluated.

1. The Mental Health of the Parent

The mental health of the parent will be evaluated to determine if they’re stable enough to provide for the emotional and physical well-being of the child. A parent who has a history of specific mental disorders, which can include depression or bipolar disorder, will likely be questioned on their ability to provide or remain emotionally balanced.

2. Employment and Medical Coverage

How a child is cared for financially will be evaluated when determining child custody, as the judge will likely want a parent who can meet the needs of the child. The parent’s salary and medical coverage will be reviewed to ensure that the child is able to receive medical care, clothes, and basic necessities. If the parent has been providing for the child for several years, it will likely have a strong influence on the outcome.

3. Status of Child Support Obligations

If a parent is not current on their child support payments, then it will sway the ruling of the judge and affect the reputation of the parent. A family lawyer may also be involved if it becomes a prolonged issue between the two parties.

4. The Relationship with the Child

If both the child and parent are distant in their emotional connection with one another, then the judge will take note and will likely give more custody to the other parent. The courts want a child to feel close to a parent and have a strong relationship in the home to promote a healthy upbringing as they develop.

5. Plans to Move

If a parent is planning on moving then it could affect the consistency that is in the child’s life. Whether moving to be closer to family or due to job opportunities, the court will want stability for the child and keep them in the same school.

When determining child custody, it can be difficult to face a judge and be critiqued as a parent. Although you may be able to provide care and security for the child, there are several other factors that determine the overall outcome with the child’s future.

Informational credit to Valerie M. Little Law Corporation, a Burnaby lawyer.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents going through the child custody process.