As a parent locked in a child custody battle with your former spouse, there’s undoubtedly a lot going through your mind. When the future of your children is up in the air, it can lead to stress, anxiety, and self-doubt. Even if you’ve always been a loving, responsible parent, you might start to second guess yourself by asking questions like:
- Am I a suitable parent?
- Do my children want me to have primary custody?
- Is my living situation preferable to that of my spouse?
While these questions are certainly warranted, if you let your fear of losing your children supersede your ability to think and act rationally, you’ll only be hurting your chances of obtaining primary custody of your children.
The good news is that there are actions that can be taken to improve your chances of winning custody of your children — like hiring a Tampa child custody private investigator. There may be evidence that proves that your former spouse is not a suitable parent. With a private investigator working behind the scenes, your attorney can build a stronger case in your favor that takes into account the criteria judges commonly rely on to make their decisions.
Best Interest of the Child
Child custody cases are complex proceedings because typically, both parents are passionate about the outcome and do everything in their power to legally sway the judge’s decision. Fortunately, impartial judges make the final decision based on the “best interest of the child” and not the wants or needs of the parents.
While this standard can be affected by the judge’s subjective beliefs, they will generally base their decision on factors such as the age of the children, each parent’s living situation, willingness to work together, pre-divorce relationships, the children’s preferences, stability, and history of abuse or neglect. Keeping this in mind, a Tampa private investigator for child custody cases can help procure evidence to build your case so you can rightfully gain the judge’s trust and improve your chance of being awarded custody.
Breaking Down the Judge’s Criteria
As we mentioned in the last section, judges typically consider an array of factors when determining whether or not you will be awarded primary custody of your child. Be sure to continue reading in the second part of this two-part article for the full list.
Age of Children: while we’ve predominantly moved past the tender years doctrine, some judges still believe that younger children are best served by being placed in the custody of their mother.
Living Situation: the judge will often look into each parent’s living situation to help them determine who is best suited for primary custody. Sometimes, the judge will award the parent who stayed in the family home as this doesn’t require the child to acclimate to a new household in a potentially different area, thereby allowing them to maintain stability and continuity. This is often the more logical choice, especially if the other parent is staying at a friend’s house or in a hotel.