How is Child Custody Determined?
Parents may reach their own agreement on the issue of child custody, have the court adopt the agreement, and issue an order based upon the parties’ agreement. If parties cannot agree on the issue of child custody, in most cases, a Probate and Family Court judge will decide how custody of the children is handled. Any award of custody is based upon the court’s standard, “the best interests of the child.” This means the court looks to the needs, well-being and happiness of the child, and awards custody based upon those factors. Just because one parent is awarded physical custody, does not necessarily mean the other parent is unfit. Many times, one parent’s rigorous work schedule or lack of day to day parenting experience that will be the deciding factor.