The court plays a significant role in determining what is in the ‘best interests’ of your child. The court considers all aspects including physical, educational, spiritual, emotional as well as preferential requirements of a child, so it makes a study of homes of both parents, along with schools, location, neighborhoods, and facilities, before making a decision on custody.

Although the courts seem to have the best interest of the kids in mind, there can’t be anyone more important in making the best decision for their children than parents. That’s why, when possible, parents should try to settle their child custody issues outside of the courts.

As you’re preparing for the child custody hearing, you should have certain documents and information related to your children, which will be used to help determine the best interests of your child.

Read More: Sole Custody Definitions by State

This is why you’ll want to document everything. Keep a record of your children’s life about events which affect them, like visiting with the other parent, grandparents, doctor’s appointment, school activities, family and religious activities, medical appointments and counseling dates, etc.

1) Parent’s Home: Can you provide wholesome surroundings and adequate shelter for your children? Bring documentation about the size of the house, neighborhood, availability of help and babysitters, hospitals, bathrooms, bedrooms, etc.

2) New Relationships: This is usually an irrelevant factor in determining most child custody cases, but the court will consider it if the relationship makes any impact on the child’s well being.

3) Status Quo: If a child’s parents reside in different districts, it is unlikely that the court will order to change the residence during the academic year, especially if the child is being properly brought up. If you want a change in the status quo, you will be required to furnish a strong reason for this. A good example would be an issue with the current conditions unsafe for the child.

4) Child’s Preference: A child’s preference is not considered by the court in most cases, but this might if the child is a teenager, their preference may be taken into account.

5) Parent’s Availability: Your work schedule may be relevant if it requires a lot of travel and won’t allow you to be present for the kids.

These are just a few things to consider while preparing for your Child Custody case. What would you add to our list?

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