How does a judge decide custody?

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How does a judge decide custody?

I’m the father of a 3 year old boy. We initially had a joint custody agreement to where he primarily stayed with the mom. When I said I wanted more time with him and tried to have another agreement made, she did not want to sign it. So I filed for custody. We went through mediation last week; she was unwilling to give me anything. She thinks I only deserve standard visitation but was I was pushing for joint and split physical custody. She has no basis as to why I should not have more time with him except that she feels he’s better off with her. She has no job and lives with her parents. How a judge might rule?

Asked on August 16, 2011 Oklahoma

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Although it is not possible to predict the outcome in a particular case, the court's ruling will be based on the best interests of the child.  Since your son is only three and is accustomed to living with his mother, it is unlikely the judge would remove your son from his mother's(parents') house and grant you physical custody.  There are two types of custody; physical (where your son lives) and legal custody.  Legal custody is making decisions about your son; for example, healthcare, education, etc.  It is possible you would be granted joint legal custody with the other parent.  If there are disagreements over visitation, the court can set a visitation schedule which would give you more time with your son.


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