Determining Child Custody. In custody actions, there are several factors the Court uses to determine how the parties will have custody of their children. Today we will examine the age of the children and the parties’ living situations. Finally, we review the need to provide continuity and stability as determining factors.
Age of the Children:
Under the Tender Years Doctrine, the prevailing view was that children, particularly very young children, should be in the care of their mothers. This was the prevailing view among judges until about 2000. Today, the assumption that the child will be mostly in the mother’s presence and care is if the baby is still nursing. Otherwise, there is no presumption that one parent has preference over another– that’s the starting point. Currently, the Family Court encourages parents to take the time to put in place schedule changes so the non-custodial parent can be more involved.
Parents living Situation and the Need to Provide Stability and Continuity:
Maintaining the status quo so as not to add to the trauma of the parents’ splitting up is important. The parent who can display circumstances close to the same as pre-separation versus the parent arguing for major change has an advantage. Sometimes this means a parent staying in the same house. What is thought to be most important is staying in the same school. This ensures that the day to day routines are largely intact. School friendships are a tremendous help to children whose parents are separating.
If You Need Help Determining Child Custody
At the LoTempio Law Group, our Family Law Attorneys have significant experience working with parents seeking to resolve custody issues. Please contact us for more information or visit our Family Law section to find out more about services we provide. You can also learn more here.
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