New Mexico law outlines the factors for a court to consider when awarding child custody. Child custody cases are rarely pretty. Whenever two parents resort to the courtroom to resolve custody issues, it is typically because they have been unable to reach a common ground through normal mediation channels. Child custody cases are also difficult to predict, especially when both parties have good arguments. Although judges are supposed to be unbiased they are human. They bring their own biases and experience to decision making. That is why nobody can predict with 100% certainty an outcome in a custody case. In the end, the court bases its decision on factors that are considered to be in the “child’s best interest.” If you or a loved one is currently facing a child custody dispute, it is important that you familiarize yourself with what the ‘best interests’ are. Here are four major factors that can influence your child custody case. This list is not meant to be exhaustive under New Mexico law but gives you a good starting point.
1. The Child’s Preference
Child custody decisions are affected in part by a child’s parental preference. There is no specific law on how the preferences of a child might affect the court’s decision. Judges may sometimes interview kids to get a feel of their opinion or appoint an expert or GaL. The views of a child may have more weight if they are a sufficient age (14 years or older). That being said, the decision of who wins custody is also dependent upon other factors.
2. The Quality of the Child’s Relationship Between His or Her Parents
In addition to the wishes of the child, the court also takes into consideration the apparent relationship the child has with his parents. If a child is more comfortable around one parent, it could ultimately influence the court’s decision on custody. If a parent does not have time for the child or does not want to see them, this can also change the outcome in court. Additionally, if the parent has a criminal record, is involved with drugs, or has a bad rap sheet, this too can affect where the child ends up staying. A judge is ultimately looking for the best situation for the child to grow up in.
3. The Mental and Physical Health of the Parents
Before making a decision, the court considers the mental health of the both parents. A parent who struggles with anger management will find it harder securing custody. The physical health of both spouses is also vital. Parents should be strong enough to attend to the needs of the child. If a parent is suffering from a serious condition, his or her chances are lowered. In addition to the kid’s parents, the court also considers the health of the other people who will be living in the same house as the child. Parents who are too weak to properly care for the child, or who are suffering from a condition that may impede their parenting skills, may have a hard time getting primary custody of their child.
4. The Wishes of the Parents
Another factor that influences the decision of the court is the wishes of the parent. Parents may request different types of custody. For instance, both parties may be requesting joint legal custody, a situation where major decisions about the child’s education, welfare, and health are made by both spouses. A parent may also be fighting for sole custody, in which case he or she gets to retain physical and legal custody of the child. The court reviews such requests and makes a decision based on the merits of all the information it is given.
These considerations along with others form the basis in which a court awards custody. To get the most out of your custody fight contact the custody experts at the Justice Legal Group at info@JusticeLegalGroup.com or call us at 505-880-8737.