When the parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, the court will make the decision for them. When determining the child’s best interests, the court may consider the following factors:

  • The length of time the child has lived in a stable environment.
  • The permanence, as a family unit (such as the remarriage of parents)
  • The distance between the residences of the parents
  • The parents’ physical and mental health
  • The parents’ lifestyles
  • The emotional bonds between the parent and the child
  • The parent’s ability to give the child guidance and education
  • The parent’s ability to provide the basic necessities, such as food, shelter, clothing and medical care
  • The child’s routines, including home, school, community history
  • The willingness of the parent to encourage a healthy, on-going relationship between the child and the other parent
  • If the child is above a certain age, the child’s preference
  • Who has been the child’s primary caretaker?