Improper Child Custody Factors
Many parents in custody disputes are concerned whether the court will take their side, even with aggressive child custody representation. If you’re in the middle of a custody dispute you may be asking yourself “what are my chances of being granted custody over my child?” “what if the court thinks I am unfit to take care of my child because I earn less? or because of my religion? or sexual orientation?”
There are a number of factors that affect the outcome in a battle for custody. And yes, no doubt, if a child’s parents are not in good terms, custody cases can easily get messy, with each party laying out the other’s dirty laundry. And though we hope it never has to come to this, your child custody attorney will prepare you for all possible scenarios.
One of which is knowing which factors have little to no bearing in determining whether a parent should be granted custody. These are factors that, as long as not particularly proven or shown to cause any harm to the child, cannot be used as a basis for denying custody to a parent.
Sex of the Parent
Courts will not give preference in granting custody to a parent based on their sex. Your chances of being granted custody will never be based on whether you are male or female.
Courts will not determine custody on the basis of race. The fact that one parent entered into an interracial marriage, despite fears of possible harm to the child because of racial prejudice, will have no bearing in determining custody .
Courts cannot simply rely on a physical disability as sole evidence of a parent’s unfitness or of probable detriment to the child.
Courts should not factor in religion when entering into a custody decision. In fact, parents may not be prohibited from discussing religion with or involving the child in religious activities. The only exception to this is if there is compelling evidence that the religious beliefs and observances are harmful to the child.
Income or economic advantage cannot be a basis for awarding custody to either parent as there is no correlation between wealth and good parenting or wealth and happiness. Should the custodial parent’s income be insufficient, child support should be awarded, not removal of custody. The care provided by a mother who must entrust her child to daycare due to work and studies is not per se inferior to the care given by a father who also works but is able to leave the child with a stepmother.
A parent’s sexual orientation alone does not determine whether a parent’s custody should be denied or visitation restricted. It may be a factor to be considered but only insofar as the court finds it relevant. In fact, a court order prohibiting a homosexual parent from overnight visitations with his son with other homosexuals around was vacated in Marriage of Birdsall as there was no showing that it would be detrimental to the child.
In the same way, a parent’s sexual conduct, unless compellingly shown to have significant bearing on the child’s welfare, is irrelevant in awarding custody. Such that the court cannot prohibit custodial parents from having overnight visitors of the opposite sex unless it is shown that the minor children’s welfare is directly placed in jeopardy or that such relations would adversely affect the child’s home environment.