Both parents can seek physical custody of the children. The child will live with the parent having physical custody. The court can award physical custody to the mother or the father. Likewise the parents can reach an agreement wherein the father or the mother has physical custody. The courts tend to give primary custody to the child’s primary caretaker.
Besides the above factors, the courts tend to favor the parent who demonstrates that he or she has been the primary caretaker of the child during the marriage. The bond between the child and the primary caretaker is a key factor. For children, this bond is important for successful mental and emotional development and growth.
Who is the Primary Caretaker?
The court will see the contribution of both parents towards the following activities to decide who the primary caretaker is:
• Dressing, grooming and bathing
• Planning and preparation of meals
• Buying clothes and laundry responsibility
• Medical care arrangements
• Encouraging the child to participate in extracurricular activities
• Teaching the child to read, write and count
• Leisure activities
Depending on your circumstances and your state law, the court may also consider certain other factors. There have been cases where even exposure to second hand smoke has been an important factor in deciding who the primary caretaker is.
If the court is unable to determine who the primary caretaker is, then the court will look at the child’s best interest to determine child custody.