Is stability a factor in child custody determinations?

Although readers may be familiar with the best interest of the child standard, understanding how that principle is applied in practice can still be confusing. Although both parents may be concerned about their child’s welfare during a divorce, disagreements may arise over legal and physical custody, child support and visitation arrangements.

Our law firm focuses on a wide range of family law matters, including legal guidance on child custody issues. We understand that the law and a parent’s own common sense may not always agree. A recent article explores the disconnect that can sometimes arise between a court’s determination and a parent’s own preferences and philosophies. 

For starters, a recent study indicates that many Americans regard child support formulas to be unfair. States can differ on whether calculations factor in both parents’ incomes, or simply the noncustodial parent’s. Under Massachusetts state law, both parents have a responsibility to provide for their child’s welfare. Accordingly, a court will examine each parent’s income.

Yet a child’s wellbeing requires more than just financial contributions. Many family law courts recognize the contribution that each parent can make. Unfortunately, parents who live apart may not always agree on child raising issues. A court will most likely want assurances that a shared approach will still provide a stable and nurturing environment for children.

For example, a proactive approach to scheduling or visitation conflicts might help to shield children from witnessing further conflict or arguments between parents. Indeed, a consistent daily and weekly schedule is generally considered to be in a child’s best interest. Accordingly, a parent whose work schedule does not allow for any flexibility may need to plan carefully. An attorney can help troubleshoot these and other child support and custody issues.

Source: Deseret News, “The disconnect between how we view child support laws and how they actually work,” Mandy Morgan, June 2, 2015