When considering what is in the best interest of a child, a judge can assess a number of factors. If you and your spouse are divorcing and share a child, it is important that you understand those factors so that you can know what to expect in regards to custodial matters. Here are some of the most common factors used by family court judges to determine what custodial situation is best for a child.

Your Relationship with the Child

Part of the judge's assessment is determining what your relationship with the child was before and after divorce was filed. The judge needs to know how involved you were with your child prior to the divorce. If you did not spend much time with your child during that period, this could be problematic. However, if you have stepped up your involvement since the divorce was filed, the judge will take that into account.

The Child's Preference

Depending on the age of the child, the judge could factor in the preferences of the child. During evaluations, a judge can assign a social worker or other evaluator to discuss the relationship the child has with both parents and determine if he or she has preferences when it comes to custody. The social worker will prepare a report that is provided to the court for review.

Your Living Situation

Your ability to provide a stable environment for the children is important. Some judges tend to favor the parent who remains in the family home, but for others, this is only part of the equation. The proximity of each parents' home to the child's school and other important places can be considered. If both parents live within close proximity to those locations that are important to the child, the judge might be more favorable to shared custody agreement.

 If you are not staying in the family home, the judge will need to know that you have space in your new residence for the child. Part of your living situation is who else resides in the home. If you have a companion living with you, he or she could also come under scrutiny. The same applies if family or friends live in the home.  

Consult with a divorce attorney to help you determine what other factors a judge could consider and to learn how they could affect your chances of getting custody or visitation with your child.