Historically child custody disputes were overwhelmingly resolved in the mother’s favor. Often times resulting in an award of primary custody to the mother, subject to the father’s right of visitation. However, as societal roles for men and women have continued to evolve, so too has the Court’s decision making on issues related to the care and custody of minor children.
This includes the fact that Courts are making awards of joint or shared physical care with increased frequency. This is not to suggest that the Courts have made a wholesale move towards establishing joint or shared physical care as the preferred custodial arrangement. However, the Court’s preference to maximize the children’s contact with both parents has made the award of joint or shared physical care more prevalent. At the end of the day, the specific facts and circumstances of your situation, including your ability to communicate with your spouse, will have a substantial impact on the custody arrangement that is ultimately established.
In all custody and visitation decisions, the overarching goal of the Court is to promote the best interest of the child. There is no set definition as to what is in the best interest of the child, and the best interest of the child can be largely determined by the historical relationship that the children have enjoyed with both parents. This, coupled with the parent’s ability to provide for the continuing needs of the children, can have a substantial impact on future child custody decisions.