In most custody cases, both parents are good parents who can take care of the children. A judge has to decide custody between two good choices. In most Massachusetts custody battles, custody is not decided on the basis that one parent is bad. The standard applied by judges is known as the best interests of the child standard. In other words, the judge has to decide which custody arrangement is better for the children.
Judges will frequently look at the following questions when considering custody:
- When the parties were together who was the primary custodial parent?
- Which parent has bonded better with the children?
- Which parent works more hours?
- Which parent prepares food, cleans the house, bathes the children, puts them to bed?
- Which parent takes time off from work for a sick child or doctor's appointments?
- Once the parties have separated, do both parents have adequate housing for the children and sufficient plans to care for the children?
There are other facts that a judge may consider.
After a judge considers these factors and others, the judge will then make a decision about custody. Frequently the judge has to choose between two good parents. Not receiving custody does not reflect anything negative about your parenting skills. Custody battles can be very complicated. An experienced divorce lawyer should be consulted before you engage in a custody dispute.