Child custody agreements are matters handled by parents. However, in the eyes of the law, the child is the most important component of this equation. For this reason, the court will always place the needs of the child high above those of the parents battling for custody, particularly if the child has a special medical need. Learn about some of the factors the courts often use to make their decision.
Access to Care
An assurance that the child will be able to easily access the care they need is very important to the courts. Whether the child has a developmental delay that requires therapy or a medical condition that requires the care of a medical specialist, the court will aim to place the child with the parent who has access to this care or to create an arrangement that does not inhibit the child's access.
The court also wants to make sure that the parent who will have primary custody of the child will be an active participant in their daily care. For example, a parent that works a standard 40-hour week may appear more favorable than a parent who works a 60-hour week with a varied schedule. In addition to care from medical professionals, the child's regular interaction with the parent is something the court will also consider.
The level of knowledge each parent has about the child's care needs is also something the court will generally consider. For this reason, a parent that has little experience taking care of the child may have a hard time gaining full custody from a parent who has been the child's primary caregiver. An attorney can discuss some of the factors the courts consider when assessing each parent's knowledge.
Comfort and Accessibility
The home in which the child will reside should also be a place of comfort and one that is accessible for the child. For instance, if the child is in a wheelchair, the court will consider the layout of each parent's home to ensure the child can freely and easily move about. The goal is to ensure that the child feels at home, so comfort and accessibility will always be factors.
If you need to establish a child custody agreement and your child has a special need, it is critical to speak with a child custody lawyer. Ensure you speak with someone who can help and guide you along the process.