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What factors are used to determine child custody?

Divorcing parents may wonder what child custody arrangement they will end up with. That is why it is helpful for them to be aware of the factors that are used to determine child custody. The factors are used to determine what child custody arrangement will be best for the child.

Child custody factors used in Mississippi

Factors the family law court may evaluate to arrive at a child custody arrangement that is best for the child include:

  • The health and sex of the child;
  • Which parent was the primary caregiver prior to divorce;
  • The parenting skills of the parents and their willingness to care for the child;
  • The emotional ties between the child and each of the parents; and
  • The moral fitness of each of the parents.

The family law court has a preference for keeping children together when making child custody determinations. The child’s preference may also be considered if the child is over the age of 12, however, it is not dispositive and the family law court may decide otherwise if it believes doing so would be in the best interests of the child. In addition, the family law court is likely to look at the entire picture of the parents, child and family when making a child custody determination.

Physical and legal custody

As this blog has previously discussed, both physical and legal custody of the child will need to be determined. If one parent receives sole physical custody of the child, the other parent may be awarded visitation of the child but only if visitation would be in the best interests of the child.

Child custody factors play an important role in the child custody determinations. They are used to determine what is in the best interests of the child. For that reason, it is extremely important for divorcing parents to be familiar with what they are.