The court looks at what is in the child’s best interest. Some factors that might be good for parents to think about is the level of tension between the parents. So, the height of the level of tension, if there is restraining orders or criminal cases that would be the highest level. There is always some level of tension, but the less tension not only is better for the child, but it is easier to have a parenting schedule set up.
The different skills or abilities of the parents that already in place, so the more experience, bonding or general skills that the parents have is a factor. The child’s unique needs; whether that is physical, emotional, mental health issues and whether the parents are proficient in addressing these needs.
The child’s adaptability to change versus the structure and routine. Another issue is the child’s developmental age and the abilities. There is a different thing obviously between a child being infant versus a 14-year-old and the availability of each parent or the four parenting. So, example, even if one parent has great skills, a great bond and all the other factors which would show that are in the best interest. If that parent works in Boston and commutes an hour and leaves at 6:00 am and does not get back until 7:00 pm at night that would be a restriction. Where the parents are located, the closer that the parents live generally the more flexibility there is. In addition, sometimes school issues in terms of the child staying in the same school or even wanting to go to a different school and what towns the parents live at. What the child’s daily schedule is and the parent’s availability for that. The parent’s adaptability in terms of looking at what they might need to do to meet their child or children’s needs. What is other support network, whether that is family, siblings or friends and things of that nature. A handful of factors that the court will look at in terms of what is in the child’s or children’s best interest.