When making decisions regarding children, judges consider the totality of the circumstances a child’s life to determine what is in the best interest of the children. A judge will make its determination only after a full evidentiary trial, with both parties and the attorney for the children presenting their witnesses and evidence. Sometimes, the testimony and conclusions of a custodial evaluator may be used.
The judge is not constrained by the wishes of either parent, the attorney appointed to represent a child or a custodial evaluator. The Court is vested with the authority and obligation to determine what is best for the child after reviewing all the evidence.
Although courts have stated that there is no one factor which is more important than the others in determining the best interest of the children, one factor seems to arise more and more: the willingness to foster a relationship between the parent the children and the other parent.
In making their determination, judges rely upon the testimony presented at trial, including the report of a custodial evaluation by a mental health professional, if there is one. Under the appropriate circumstances, a judge may meet with the children in private.
WHEN POSTED, THE FOREGOING AND FOLLOWING QUESTION/ANSWER PAIRS SHOULD BE SEPARATED BY SEVERAL MONTHS, AS THEY ARE ALMOST IDENTICAL QUESTIONS