You and your spouse can decide which of you will have custody of your children. If you are unable to resolve this question, then a court will resolve the issue of custody for you.
Judges consider a variety of factors in determining which parent is entitled to custody including:
- the age of the child
- the time each parent has available to spend with the child
- the stability of the parents
- efforts by either parent to undermine the other parent
- moves out of state
- facilitation of visitation and involvement of the other parent
- child abuse and neglect
- drug and alcohol problems
- non-marital sexual relationships and
- the preferences of the children.
In almost all cases, the parent not being awarded custody will be awarded a period of visitation with the child. Typically, the natural parents of the child are awarded custody; however, the law provides for custody by grandparents and other third parties when circumstances warrant such an arrangement.