When making custody decisions, the court has to base decisions on the best interests of the children involved.
Best interests include a variety of factors. The most important in the eyes of the law is safety.
The court will look at different elements of each household and parent when assessing custody. The law requires a judge to weigh heavily on safety when making any decision regarding the placement of children. Safety includes ensuring the child will have his or her basic needs met. It also includes ensuring the parent will not put the child into any dangerous situations. For example, a parent with a background that includes drugs or violence would automatically be less desirable than a parent without those issues because they increase the chances of safety risks.
The judge will also look at who can best care for the children. The court wants to see an involved parent who has a good relationship with the child and who is able to provide the care the child needs to thrive. The judge will consider issues such as a lack of a permanent home or a strained relationship between the parent and the children when making custody decisions.
A parent who comes into the custody situation with an angry or defensive attitude will throw up red flags to the judge. The court also does not like parents who use their kids as weapons or who try to manipulate the court by making false accusations against the other parent.
When making custody decisions, the court will look at everything. It requires careful work to ensure the children end up in a situation that will be the best for them.