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Legal Information: General

Custody

How will a judge make decisions about child custody?

Judges make decisions about child custody based on whatever they think is in the best interests of the child. States have different rules and guidelines as to what factors the judge will consider when deciding what is in the best interests of the child.

Examples of factors that a judge might look at when determining the “best interests of the child” are:

  • The emotional, social, moral, and educational needs of the child;
  • The home environments offered by each party;
  • The interpersonal relationship between the child and each parent;
  • The preference of the child, if the child is old enough and mature enough to give his/her preference;
  • The mental stability of each parent (including any mental illness or drug use);
  • Any history of domestic violence; and
  • The safety of the child.