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Looking at a complicated custody case involving conflicting decisions, P.1

Custody cases can be contentious, as readers all know. There are various reasons for this, one of which has to do with the fact that courts makes custody decisions based on criteria that can be interpreted differently by different courts.

The primary standard courts go by in any custody case is the best interests of the child. In determining whether a custody arrangement will be in the best interests of a child, courts analyze and weigh a number of factors, including the moral fitness of the parents, the mental and physician health of the parents, the length of time the child has lived in a stable environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity. 

Family court judges have significant discretion in determining exactly how to apply the various factors to the circumstances of each case, and this is why it is critical for a parent to work with an experienced legal advocate to ensure the court has accurate and complete information and that all factors are taken into account.

Different courts, though, can and sometimes do decide similar cases, or the same case, differently. This occurred in a recent Florida case where a Michigan custody decision was overruled. In this case, the initial custody decision was changed later on not only because of differences in the way the courts evaluated the bests interests of the child, but also because of the Florida court’s determination that Michigan was not the proper venue for the custody case. We’ll say more about this in our next post.

Source: First Coast News, “Two courts, two different custody decisions,” Anne Schindler, Oct. 27, 2016. 

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