Some South Carolina parents might question the custody decisions made by a family law judge, particularly if it seems as if these orders are not really following the best interest of the child. Child custody decisions are made after considering a variety of factors, and some can go beyond family dynamics and silently influence the outcome.
Traditional factors that affect child custody decisions
When it comes to child custody decisions, the court is charged with protecting the best interests of the child. To do this, a variety of factors are considered, including:
• The ability of each parent to meet their child’s needs
• The attachment of the child to each parent
• The child’s age, their needs and in some cases their preference as to which parent they want to live with
• Any history of a parent’s substance, domestic or sexual abuse
Beyond these family factors, however, are those that can influence the outcome of the case. For example, judges and lawyers might have biases about the way a child should be raised and who should oversee their upbringing. The person influencing or making the custody decision might not be aware of their own biases or how their view might not fit with the family.
Some judges and court workers might not be able to determine good versus bad parenting. With courts currently preferring shared custody, it might be hard for some judges to determine what makes a good parent. Because parenting abilities are often difficult to evaluate, judges might opt to award shared parenting to be fair to both parents but not necessarily because it is in the best interest of the child.
What you can do
Custody decisions have long-term effects on children as they grow into adulthood. It is important to provide strong evidence supporting your parenting skills so that it can help the court make the best possible decision.