Will I Get Custody?

child custodyBy Matt Allen

Editor, DadsDivorce.com

If you have ever been involved in a child custody case or you are about to begin one you most likely have heard the phrase “best interests of the child.”

Almost every state determines child custody and visitation issues based on the best interests of the child standard.

State statutes and case law define this standard differently, but in general there are certain factors and themes that appear in the majority of states.

So when you ask the inevitable question of “what are my chances I’ll get custody”, here is a general list of what the courts use to analyze the “best interests of the child,” according to Cordell & Cordell attorney Jennifer Paine:

  • The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.
  • The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.
  • The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care.
  • The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
  • The permanence of the existing or proposed home or homes.
  • The moral fitness of the parties involved.
  • The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
  • The home, school, and community record of the child.
  • The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
  • The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent of the child and parents.
  • Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
  • Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to the particular family.

You will find the same or similar factors in most states.

So playing a part in the child custody analysis will be your location at the time of the divorce, your relationship with your children, your relationship with your spouse, who was the primary caregiver, where the children have an established, familiar environment, where the children go to school, which parent is more likely to encourage the children’s current religious education, etc.

An experienced family law attorney will know how to advocate on your behalf.

Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located nationwide that fight for fathers rights to remain an active part of their children’s lives post-divorce.

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64 Comments on "Will I Get Custody?"

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lisa w.
3 months 10 days ago

I’d love to know what courts actually use these guidelines! As an alienated parent I can tell you they sure as he’ll didn’t use them in my case. Nor have they seemed to use them in the thousands of other cases of parents I’ve met during my journey, fathers or mothers!

4 months 17 days ago
Hi,im have a son with my x wife and we have been divorced over a year now we have joint custody but my son lives with her she has since the split over two years ago ,has moved 7 times I get him ever other weekend but she hardly will let me talk to him on the phone or gets him to lie to me her and her new boyfriend are teaching him bad stuff live racist stuff and to hate gay people and he is only 7 he tells me Everytime that he wants to live with me but… Read more »
Melissa From Texas
6 months 20 days ago
I am a 26 yr old mother who has legal and primary sole custody of two sons from one marriage (7 & 5) and i have a 1 yr old daughter with my ex boyfriend. I am the respondant thanks to a lawyer who didnt do his job because he was too busy crackin jokes with his paralegal during our consultation…the problem is this: his parents are joint managing conservators and primary petitioners..hes only co-petitioner. Also he lives with them and can somehow pay $1500 in bills a month working as a cook at wing stop…i want my daughter and… Read more »
Younger Brother
7 months 11 days ago
My brother is looking for help, so im asking if his wife never worked through the whole marriage bc she didnt want to, can he get full custody? He is out of the military on disability, he has 3 kids she has 3(+3 his making 6). Does he have a case where she will be unfit to support his 3 so he get full custody? There might “issue” of one of those kids not being his bc time wise he was deployed and well you know. He worked 2 jobs at a point but his disability cut it back to… Read more »
looking for direction.
8 months 20 days ago

I am currently in the middle of a custody battle in which I have temporary custody. Due to ongoing abuse I left with the kids to alleviate a volatile setting. The kids have recorded their wishes to remain with myself as they are of sound age to do so. I however had to leave home to do so. What are the odds that I will retain custody and be back at home? Should I need a lawyer and/or can one even be brought in at this point as an court date has already been set?

8 months 28 days ago
I have few questions….. a couple of friend of mine are going through a divorce. The wife is the bread winner. The dad was the soccer dad. She is doing wherever it takes to run him into the ground. When they separated before she served him she put everything in her name like the cars, the house, and the bank accounts. He had nowhere to go. But she’s a user and needed a free babysitter and she knows he loves his kids. One girl 5yrs old and one boy 7yrs old. His mom just died so her condo is empty… Read more »
8 months 28 days ago
My boyfriend wants to divorce his wife. They have been seperate for 3 years. We started dating 2 years ago and now we want to get married. Their lack of motivation has kept them from divorcing but my boyfriend does pay child support for his kids from the first month of seperation. We live together in a apartment and I finally got a big enough house for a family and on that same day she prohibited the kids from coming over. We want to move forward with our lives and have his kids part of it. We both have stable… Read more »
9 months 11 days ago
My boyfriends ex wife has placement with their 3 boys (12,11,9) and he has his boys Wednesday over night and every other weekend. Well we just found out about his middle child has gotten into a fight which had him suspended from school for 5 days,when he spoke to the school vice principle he was adviced that she signed a paper stating not to release any information concerning him ( their 11yr old middle child) and she also told the school that it was in their custody agreement,which we have copies of it and we read nothing of the sort.… Read more »
lisa w.
3 months 10 days ago

This is classic parental alienation tactics. Google it. Check out this website: paawareness.org, there are groups and pages that can support you on fb too.

Make sure schools, drs, extra curricula groups have copies of his custody order showing he isn’t barred from anything! Always be polite and friendly when dealing with them, because she won’t be.

Schools have websites where you can access your kids school information now. Email teachers and introduce himself to them. Make his presence known. Be involved!

9 months 13 days ago

I’m going through a custody battle with my ex who has told me her move in date with her boyfriend who she has known for 4 months is the 15th of may even though I know she’s already moved in but lying about it. I found out he has a domestic violence charge against him, I’m wondering if that will be held against her when we go to court

Linda Reed
9 months 27 days ago