In most cases, both parents share legal custody and therefore consult on major decisions affecting the minor children. The parents may share physical custody or one parent may have the label of primary physical custodian. However, if the parties cannot agree on custody, a skilled attorney can ensure that a parent’s rights are protected by investigating, preparing, and presenting relevant facts to the court concerning the best interests of the children.

Custody is determined in accordance with the concepts of “established custodial environment” and “best interests of the child.” Important considerations include who has been the primary caregiver to the child, who will promote the child’s relationship with the other parent, who will provide a safe and secure environment for the child, and with whom a more mature child may prefer to live.

A parent who desires custody should be prepared to give specific facts showing (1) what the environment for the child has been, and (2) that at least some of the following factors favor that parent: