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How does a judge review a child custody case?

Determining the custody arrangement that's in the best interest if your child is the number one priority of any court. Whether you're seeking sole custody or trying to work out visitation concerns, if you go to the court for help, the judge will look at all the evidence and make the decision he or she feels most benefits your child.

The first thing that a judge goes by is the idea that a child should stay in his or her home if possible. So, the parent who will stay in the home is more likely to receive custody of the child, or, in other cases, the parent with custody is more likely to keep the family home. This is secondary to the health and safety of the child, which is the primary concern of the court. The parent who can provide the most stability and support is more likely to receive larger amounts of custody time.

Every case is different, and yours might be one where you and your spouse want to maintain a fairly even relationship with your child. You can work together to create your own parenting plan and custody arrangements with the help of your attorneys. As long as you agree and work to come up with a solution that is in the best interest of your child, the judge is likely to approve your agreement and custody plan when it comes time to finalize it.

If the judge feels that your plan is not fair or in your child's best interest, he or she does have the power to change it. Your attorney can help you understand what to do if that happens.

Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway, "Determining the Best Interests of the Child," accessed Dec. 09, 2016

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