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What factors does a court use when deciding child custody?

When parents in Charlotte divorce, one issue they'll have to settle is who is to have custody of their child and when. This blog has previously discussed the different types of child custody and parenting time arrangements a Charlotte, North Carolina, court may order should the child's parents not be able to agree on these types of issues. What some parents in the area might wonder, however, is what sorts of evidence a North Carolina court will be looking for when deciding a child custody case.

Ultimately, a judge is going to try to make a decision that is in the child's best interests. This is simply a fancy way of saying that the child's needs will come before the desires or even needs of either parent who is party to the custody dispute.

Because what is in a child's best interests varies from individual child to individual child, a court looking at a custody case is going to take careful account of the specific facts and circumstances of that case in lieu of applying a formulaic, one-size-fits-all checklist. Still, there are some things a court may emphasize when making a custody decision.

For instance, a court is going to look at which parent has historically been the one to provide for the child's needs on a daily basis. A court is also typically going to look at what sort of arrangement is going to cause the least amount of change for the child and the least disruption in the child's daily life. Another important practical factor the courts will consider is each parent's work schedule, as it makes more sense to award custody to a parent who is actually able to be present for the child when the child is out of school and at home.

There are other factors that a court may consider when awarding child custody, but hopefully this post serves as a useful overview of what a judge will look for when making a custody decision. However, because every divorce and every family is different, it is important for both parents to understand how the court will make decisions in their specific case.

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