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What Do Judges Think About?

Parental Rights

If the parents cannot agree how to share the parenting responsibility for their children the judge must decide which parent should be the primary parent. When the judge makes that decision the judge must consider the following factors:

  1. the relationship of the child with each parent and the ability and disposition of each parent to provide the child with love, affection and guidance;
  2. the ability and disposition of each parent to assure that the child receives adequate food, clothing, medical care, other material needs and a safe environment;
  3. the ability and disposition of each parent to meet the child's present and future developmental needs;
  4. the quality of the child's adjustment to the child's present housing, school and community and the potential effect of any change;
  5. the ability and disposition of each parent to foster a positive relationship and frequent and continuing contact with the other parent, including physical contact, except where contact will result in harm to the child or to a parent;
  6. the quality of the child's relationship with the primary care provider, if appropriate given the child's age and development;
  7. the relationship of the child with any other person who may significantly affect the child;
  8. the ability and disposition of the parents to communicate, cooperate with each other and make joint decisions concerning the children where parental rights and responsibilities are to be shared or divided; and
  9. evidence of abuse and the impact of the abuse on the child and on the relationship between the child and the abusing parent.
EXPERIENCE COMMITMENT PERSPECTIVE

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