Child Custody Factors

The paramount consideration in custody determinations is the best interest of the child. In order
to ascertain the child’s best interests, the Court is required to consider all factors which
legitimately impact upon the child’s physical, intellectual, moral and spiritual well-being on a
case-by-case basis in deciding how to allocate post-divorce parental authority via legal and
physical custody.
Custody is broken down into two aspects:
A. Legal custody is the right to make major decisions affecting the child. Major decisions
can include education, elective medical treatment, and religious decisions. Parents
usually share joint legal custody of the child.
B. Physical custody refers to the party with whom the child actually resides, either partially
or entirely.
The following are the factors that the Court considers:

  1. The Accommodating Parent
  2. Present or Past Abusive Conduct or Involvement of Child Protective Services
  3. Parental Duties Performed
  4. Stability of Parent
  5. Availability of Extended Family
  6. Custody Arrangement of Siblings
  7. Well-Reasoned Preference of Child
  8. Parental Alienation
  9. Which Parent provides a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship
  10. Which Parent attends to the Child’s daily physical, educational and emotional need
  11. Proximity of the Residences of the Parties
  12. Either Parents Availability
  13. The level of conflict between the parties and the willingness and ability of the parties to
    cooperate with one another
  14. History of Drug or Alcohol Abuse of a Party or Member of Household
  15. Mental and Physical Condition of either Parent or Member of Household
  16. Any Other Relevant Factor

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