Providing For The Child's Best Interests
When determining whom should be awarded custody, the Court has one primary mission: to award custody in the manner that will best benefit the child. The Court is concerned only for the child's best interests; your and your spouse's emotions and desires will carry little weight. The Court will evaluate several factors to determine how well-equipped each of the parents are to care for the child's best interests. Here are a few examples of these factors:
1. Involvement In The Child's Life
No matter what your child's age is, he needs a parent who will be there to support him. Whether that support comes in the form of attending little league baseball games or helping him fill out college applications, the Court will want to see that you have been actively involved in your child's life in the past, that you continue to stay involved during the divorce proceedings, and that you can be trusted to remain involved in the future.
Some lifestyles easily lend themselves to caring for a child, and others do not. If you routinely work 60 hours a week and frequently travel for work, for example, the Court may decide that you will not be able to dedicate appropriate time to raising your child and award primary custody to the other parent.
3. The Child's Wishes
If your child is old enough to express her opinion, her wishes will likely factor heavily into the Court's ultimate decision. The child must be able to articulate the reason for her opinion, and if the reason is valid, the Court may be inclined to oblige.
4. Stable Environment
Children need stability and consistency in order to thrive. If you change residences frequently or regularly have new romantic partners, this may negatively impact your odds of being awarded custody. The Court will want to see that you can provide a stable home for your child.
5. Alcoholism & Abuse
Obviously, alcoholism and abuse (emotional, physical, sexual, or otherwise) do not lend themselves to a supportive, loving home. If one parent has a history of any of these issues, the Court will likely award custody to the non-offending parent. In these instances, visitation rights for the offending parent may also be severely limited (or denied altogether).
Proving You Can Provide For Your Child's Best Interests
These five are only a few examples of the countless different factors that can influence custody arrangements. The Court will also look at religious and cultural preferences, the parents' mental and physical health, opportunities to remain in contact with other family members (such as grandparents), and more.
When you file for divorce in Camden County MO, it will be up to you to prove to the Court that you are able to fulfill all of the responsibilities associated with raising a child. Fortunately, you do not have to face this journey alone. Our Lake of the Ozarks divorce attorney will be here to guide and represent you along every step of the way. Call us at (573) 348-2211 to schedule your free initial consultation.
Your Trusted Legal Resource
Gibbons Law Firm
4075 Osage Beach Parkway, Suite 300
Osage Beach, MO 65065
No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.