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Child Custody

Child Custody & Support

By: Daniel E. Clement, Esq.

How will custody of the children be determined?

In a contested custody battle, custody of the children is determined through an exhaustive examination of the totality of the circumstances to determine the "best interests of the children." In determining what is in the best interest of the children, a court will consider many factors, including:

  1. the pre-existing custodial arrangement;

  2. who is the primary caretaker of the child;

  3. the historical relationship of the child and the parents;

  4. the financial status and ability of each parent to provide for the child;

  5. what is the nurturing ability of the parents;

  6. who has better judgment;

  7. the desirability of keeping siblings together;

  8. the wishes of the child, if of sufficient age and maturity;

  9. the parents' lifestyles, including substance abuse or chemical addiction of a parent;

  10. the parents' religion;

  11. whether a parent will encourage or discourage visitation;

  12. continuity of a stable environment;

  13. the age of the child;

  14. a parentís neglect or abuse of the child;

  15. the quality of each parents' home environment;

  16. the parental guidance each parent provides for the child;

  17. the ability of each parent to provide for the child's emotional and intellectual development;

  18. the relative fitness of the respective parents including their mental condition; and

  19. the length of time the present custody arrangement has been in effect.

How is child support calculated?

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