A large number of factors may influence the outcome of any given child custody dispute. For child custody arrangements that cannot be worked out satisfactorily outside of family courts, the judge or jury will be left to decide the custody arrangements for a child or children. In these family court hearings, both parties can produce virtually any piece of information, both positive and negative, that may sway the judge or jury in issuing a favorable outcome. Each child custody case presents differing and inherently unique circumstances surrounding it, and with this being so, the factors influencing the decision of the courts regarding child custody may vary greatly from case to case. An experienced child custody lawyer can assist clients in presenting their case, and in turn, their abilities to care for dependents, to the family courts within the confines of a child custody case. Likewise, a child custody lawyer can also assist clients in alerting the courts of potential drawbacks, shortcomings, or outright dangers in granting custody of a child or children to another parent.
Largely affecting the outcome of an attempt to retain child custody is the type of custody that a parent, grandparent, or other party attempts to obtain with a child. In the case of a parent seeking custody of their child, a series of custody levels is provided by the family courts system, which allows both parents access to their children, even if this access is contested by either or both parents. Some of the following types of child custody arrangements may be sought by parents:
The level of custody a parent wishes to obtain with their child or children may heavily influence a favorable outcome in family courts. In all instances, the courts will consider what is in the best interests of the child, and most normal circumstances, access and time with both mother and father is in held as in the best interest of a child. Therefore, attempting to restrict custody access from one parent may not be a feasible option if the reasoning is purely vindictive or unsupported in the eyes of the family court judge.
When considering the custody arrangements for a child or children, the family court judge will note all the arguments presented by both parties involved in the dispute. The rule of thumb regarding child custody cases is making decisions in the best interests of the child or children. For this reason, virtually every aspect of an individual's life, both past and present, may undergo scrutiny in a child custody case. Some of the more common, but not altogether comprehensive, factors influencing child custody include: