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How Do Judges Determine Custody? Part 2

In part one of this two-part article, a Tampa private investigator from Darwin Securities, LLC, discussed some of the criteria judges consider when awarding child custody. It’s important to understand what is going through a judge’s mind when they make their decision, but it’s also important to team up with the right professionals to give you the best chance of winning custody.

A private investigator can be a powerful ally for parents and attorneys fighting for child custody. If you’re looking for a professional who can perform surveillance and background checks in Tampa, consult our security experts.

Breaking Down the Judge’s Criteria

Willingness to Work Together: by being the more amicable of the two parents, you can improve your chance of retaining custody. Never speak ill of your former spouse in front of your children, and don’t attempt to interfere with their visitation rights. Cooperative parents almost always gain the edge in child custody cases.

Pre-Divorce Relationships: what was your relationship with your children like before your divorce was finalized? Uninvolved parents often feel a sudden sense of urgency to spend more time with their children when the very real possibility that they’ll lose custody arises. After a divorce, your former spouse may take an aggressive stance against you and try to weaponize custody as a means to get back at you for stepping away. It’s always a good idea to maintain records of times when your former partner opted out of their parental duties during and after the separation period.

Children’s Preferences: the judge may consider your children’s preference if they are old enough to make such a determination. Usually, a judge will consult the child if they are over the age of 12, but this depends on the judge’s methods. If a child pleads to be placed in the custody of one parent over another, the judge may utilize their preference as a strong piece of supporting evidence to make their decision. Of course, if contrary evidence arises (i.e., a Tampa private investigator discovers that this parent is using illicit drugs), the child’s preference will likely be ignored in order to make the safest decision possible.

Continuity and Stability: judges are generally interested in maintaining the status quo. Consistency plays a large role in a child’s upbringing and shaking things up can be a traumatic experience for them. As we mentioned above, a clear willingness to work with your former spouse is a significant indicator that you aren’t going to make decisions that hurt your children.

Abuse or Neglect: if the judge determines that either parent has abused or neglected their children, they will restrict this parent’s visitation rights and limit the amount of contact they have with them. This is an extremely important factor in any child custody case and one of the primary reasons that parents and attorneys should partner with a Tampa private investigator.

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