• The fitness of each parent
  • The character of each parent
  • Any agreements between the parties
  • The best way to maintain family relationships
  • The child’s preference
  • Age, health and sex of the child
  • Residences of each parent and proximity of the homes to each other
  • Whether either parent has previously abandoned his/her parental role

In addition to the factors listed above, judges will examine the relationship of the child to each parent and the relationship of the parents to each other to decide if joint custody is appropriate. The factors courts consider in deciding joint custody include:

  • Capacity of the parents to communicate and reach shared decisions affecting the child’s welfare
  • Parent’s willingness for joint custody
  • Relationship with the child
  • Potential disruption to the child’s situation created by joint custody
  • Demands of each parent’s occupation
  • Sincerity of either parent’s request for joint custody
  • Financial status of the parents
  • Benefits of joint custody to each party

Joint custody will not be awarded unless there is a record of mature conduct with the parents demonstrating an ability to effectively communicate concerning the best interest of the child.

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