One of the most challenging and difficult decisions judges must make with determining custody in a divorce is the best interests of the child. They often do this by closely examining the evidence, as well as assessing each applicable factor before ruling on the matter.
In determining the best interests of the child, Mississippi judges will consider the following factors:
- The child’s background – This includes age, gender, and mental and physical health.
- Each parents’ proposed parenting plan and wishes for the child – If both parents agree with the custody plan, the court will often grant their wishes. If the parents do not see eye to eye on the custody arrangement, a judge will take a closer look at each party’s wishes.
- The child’s emotional need to maintain a close relationship with each parent – Judges are required to decide a custody arrangement where each parent is able to maintain constant contact with their child—but not if the child’s health and safety are an issue. They will also consider which parent is more likely to permit the other parent to have consistent contact with the child, if one parent is more likely than the other to meddle with the other parent’s relationship with the child.
- The physical and mental health of the parents and the child – The judge will consider if there are any health concerns with either the parent or the child.
- Each parent’s ability to provide financially and emotionally for the child – The judge must determine which parent is in a better position to provide for the child and will put the child’s needs first.
- Any relocation plans – If one of the parents plans to relocate with the child after the judgment is entered.
- The wishes of the child – If a child is of a certain age of maturity, often 12-14 years or older, the judge can consider the child’s own preferences.
When a custody agreement between the two parents cannot be reached, the family court judge will make a decision while considering the factors above.
For more information, contact our Jackson divorce attorney at Shows & Smith Law Firm, PA today.