Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
Here are some of the elements a judge may consider in deciding a child custody case.
Drug Abuse. It is fairly standard for the judge to order that both parties take a hair strand drug test and submit it to the court. Parents who abuse drugs or alcohol will not be awarded custody.
Wishes of the child. The judge may take the wishes of the child into consideration. While this is just one element, the older the child the more weight the judge is likely to give to the child's wishes. I assume that your child is fairly young so this would not apply.
Past custody. Who has historically had custody of the child and has that party provided a safe and stable environment for the child.
Parental behavior. Has there been domestic violence, excessive use of alcohol, criminal convictions, parental kidnapping, or any behavior that endangered the child
Encourages a relationship with other parent. Which parent will best foster a relationship between the child and the other parent. Has one parent withheld visitation to “punish” the other parent or made derogatory comments about the other parent.
Home Environment. Which parent offers the child the best stable home environment. This includes who can best supervise the child at home, the living conditions, what other adults and children, especially siblings, are in the home, the neighborhood where the home is located, which parent will be able to better continue the same school and friends.
Employment. Which parent is better able to financially provide for the child. If the parent works, what arrangements are there for babysitters, day care, etc. Does one parent travel.
Relatives. Does one parent have relatives that have a close relationship with the child.
Health. Does the child or a parent have any health issues that would impact the decision on custody. Which parent normally makes doctor appointments and accompanies the child to those appointments.
Religion. Which parent will expose the child to spiritual guidance and growth.
Relationship with child. The love, affection and emotional ties between the parent and child. With which parent does the child bond more, spends more time with the child, bathes and puts a young child to bed, prepares the child's meals and to which parent does the child openly show signs of affection.
Character. The judge will have to evaluate in a short period of time the character of the parties and whether one parents morality and credibility makes them the best parent to award custody.
Guardian ad Litem. Any recommendation by a court appointed Guardian ad Litem. This is usually a very important element since the GAL is an independent evaluator.
The court may not look favorably on you moving without first establishing custody and obtaining approval for the move. However, it is not unusual for one parent to take the child and move out of state. Generally the mother is awarded primary custody and as long as you had a good reason for the move, such as moving back with family, then you should still get custody.
I was in active duty in Hawaii from aug 2008 until Aug 2012 and my husband brought my daughter to Hawaii for 9 months , he kept lying to me that he was going to come back and that I wasnt able to take care of her because I was in the army. I never tried to get her because I was scared they may tried to do something to me , so he convinced me to come back to Missouri. but I know he knew what he was going to do, do you think the judge would take into account that he took my daughter away from me for so long , and the first time he did it for a month. and I gave him money because he threaten me that he was going to tell my chain of command.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).