What factors does the court consider in awarding custody and physical placement?

The court considers all facts relevant to the best interest of the children. Some of the factors the court considers for child custody and placement are:

  • The wishes of the children’s parent or parents as shown by an agreement between the parties, or a proposed parenting plan, or any other proposal submitted to the court at trial
  • The wishes of the children, which may be communicated by the children or through the children’s guardian ad litem
  • The interaction and interrelationship of the children with his or her parent, parents, or siblings
  • The amount and quality of time that each parent has spent with the child in the past
  • The child’s adjustment to the home, school, religion, and community
  • Whether the mental or physical health of a party, minor child, or other person living in a proposed custodial household negatively affects the child’s intellectual, physical, or emotional well-being
  • The need for regularly occurring and meaningful periods of physical placement to provide predictability and stability for the child
  • The availability of public or private child-care services
  • The cooperation and communication between the parties and whether either party unreasonably refuses to cooperate or communicate with the other party
  • Whether each party can support the other party’s relationship with the child, or whether one party is likely to unreasonably interfere with the child’s continuing relationship with the other party
  • Whether there is evidence that a party engaged in abuse of the child
  • Whether any of the following has a criminal record and whether there is evidence that any of the following has engaged in abuse of the child or any other child or neglected the child or any other child:
    • A person with whom a parent of the child has a dating relationship
    • A person who resides, has resided, or will reside regularly or intermittently in a proposed custodial household
  • Whether there is any evidence of inter-spousal or domestic abuse
  • Whether either party has or had a significant problem with alcohol or drug abuse
  • Such other factors as the court may, in each individual case, determine to be relevant