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Primary Caretakers and Child Custody

During a divorce, child custody is often one of the most difficult issues to resolve. In addition to other factors, the court often gives custody preference to the parent who can demonstrate that he or she is the “primary caretaker” of the child. The primary caretaker is the person who is most actively involved in the child’s life and upbringing during the course of the marriage.

Psychologists suggest that the emotional bond between a child and the person most actively involved in his or her life is important to ensure a child’s healthy development. Therefore, they advise that the child and adult continue their relationship to avoid hurting their emotional bond and to help the child’s psychological stability. For this reason, courts typically award custody to the parent who has provided the most emotional and practical support to the child.

Determining the Primary Caretaker

The court relies on a variety of factors and responsibilities toward the child to determine which parent has been the primary caretaker, including:

  • Dressing, bathing, and grooming
  • Making health care arrangements
  • Teaching and helping with homework
  • Attending parent-teacher conferences
  • Planning and preparing meals
  • Planning and participating in activities
  • Cultivating participation in extracurricular activities

In addition, other factors that deter from the child’s health and well-being might be considered when determining the primary caretakers, such as exposure to secondhand smoke or other harmful factors. If both parents are determined to take equal share in the responsibilities of the child, courts return to determining custody based on the “best interest” of the child.

Contact Us

If you are fighting to gain custody of your children, the Raleigh Divorce Lawyers of Marshall & Taylor PLLC can help. Contact our offices today at (919) 833-1040.