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In custody determinations, the courts must exercise sound judgment to decide which parent should be awarded custody based on the best interests and welfare of the child and the fitness of the parent. The best interest of the child is determined by examining all relevancy factors including:

  • parental wishes as to custody (which parent wants to have custody of the child);
  • child’s preference (which parent does the child want to live with);
  • the child’s relationship with parents, siblings, and significant others
  • child’s attachment to home, school, and community;
  • mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
  • The court will apply these factors separately to each child.

To be awarded full custody often requires the parent desiring the order to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the other parent is unfit to have custody.

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