Best interests of the child – age, physical, and mental condition of each parent

Paragraph 2 of § 20-124.3, “Best interests of the child; visitation” considers the “age and physical and mental condition of each parent.”

Many people assume that this will preclude a parent with diagnosed mental or physical issues from having primary custody.  That is not the case.  The Court will review all relevant issues and make the best determination.

For instance, suppose one of the parents has been diagnosed with depression.  If that parent actively seeks counseling, takes prescribed medications as indicated, and functions normally in society, that parent may be given far more weight by the Court as the better parent than one that denies a problem exists and has documented issues dealing with society.

If a parent has a physical disability, the Court will consider what impact that disability may have in the ability to care for the child.  Someone that has multiple sclerosis that inhibits their ability to walk may have more trouble caring for a toddler, but may not have any issues caring for a pre-teen.

Remember that these are simply conditions that the Court will consider in making a determination.  Rarely does any one factor determine whether or not the parent is a fit and appropriate custodian of the child.

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