When children are involved in a divorce case, it is only a matter of time before you are in court for child custody. Child custody can be a complex and emotional issue. Of course, the ideal situation would be both parents caring for the child. However, in most cases, there will be a primary caretaker.
Sometimes, the parents will decide between themselves who they believe would be the primary caregiver, but this is not always the case. In fact, it is common that the courts will have to decide who fills this role.
Who is the primary caretaker?
In a child custody case, the primary caretaker is the person who was the primary caregiver during the marriage. This is often the one who was home most often with the child. The person who is responsible for day-to-day care generally has a stronger emotional bond with the child. Psychologists, according to FindLaw, consider this relationship to be crucial to a child’s psychological health and stability.
How do the courts decide on a primary caretaker?
According to the Hawaii statute, parents receive custody if it is in the best interests of the child. Despite choosing a primary caretaker, most courts consider meaningful and frequent contact important for all children, unless one parent cannot act in the child’s best interests.
The main factor is the safety of the child. In some instances, a child may be able to speak on his or her behalf. This is only when the child is old enough and has enough capacity to form an intelligent preference. The child must be in a wholesome and stable home.