Child  custodyCinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty have one thing in common: they all lived happily ever after. Just the thought of it seems wonderful, exciting, and full of love. But, the envious ending of these Disney characters, where the princess and the prince end up happily married, do not always happen in real life. The sad thing is, not all married couples get to live happily ever after.

Divorce is prevalent in the United States. For a troubled relationship, separating is supposed to be the last ditch decision. Most people may not notice it, but divorce can cause huge problems, especially when it concerns the kids. One of them is determining where a child should live.

In Utah, couples can file for child custody as a separate case or as part of divorce. No matter what type of case, however, the best interests of a child are of the utmost importance. This article lists down the key factors a judge may consider when deciding custody rights.

Child’s Preferences

For kids older than 12, a judge may ask them who they want to live with and where. Your local St. George lawyer, for example, can help find out about the child’s preferences about visitation. But, both parents should keep in mind that the court may decide on custody that runs contrary to a child’s desires. Before the big decision, a judge will analyze the quality, depth, and nature of the relationship between parent and child.

Living Situation

Another thing the court will take into account is each parent’s living situation. A judge may ask about the child’s ability to adjust to a certain space, the safety of the neighborhood or proximity to schools, hospitals, and social activities. Most of the time, the parent who stays in the family home will get the custody of the kids, as this setup will allow a child to continue with daily routines.

Stability and the Parent’s Conduct

Stability also matters when it comes to settling the dispute about child custody. Judges know how stressful and traumatic big changes in living arrangements can be for kids. This is the reason having a visitation schedule in place is important. The court will look at a parent’s ability to give first priority to kids.

Just like marriage, dealing with child custody battle is a long, difficult job. Both parents need to work harder for the sake of their kids, as it’s not the time to be selfish.