One of the most important decisions that must be made when parents decide to split is who will have custody of the child. The courts must decide what is in the best interest of the child. They examine a range of factors to determine whether one parent will have primary custody or if the parents will share custody.

The main thing the courts consider is the fitness of a parent to raise a child. Fitness here refers to the ability of the parent to provide for the fundamental needs of the child. The sections below discuss this concept in detail.

Financial Stability

The court has to be convinced that the basic needs of the child are met. They check whether the parent has a steady job and can afford food, clothes, and a place for the child to live.

How the parent handles money is very important too. A parent doesn’t have to be rich, but they must be able to provide for the needs of the child.

Safe and Suitable Home Environment

The living space of the child is very important. The courts look for a clean and safe environment for the child to live in. They will want to know whether there is enough space for the child as well as if the neighborhood is safe for children. If there are pets in the home, they have to be safe for the child. Courts look for assurance that the child has a good place to live, sleep, and play.

Physical and Mental Health of the Parent

A parent’s health can affect their ability to care for a child. This includes the physical and mental health of the parent. The court will also monitor if the parent abuses drugs or alcohol.

Child custody will also depend on how well the parent manages health problems. They want to see that the parent is healthy enough to take care of the child’s needs.

Relationship with the Child

The relationship between parent and child is essential. The courts examine the quality of time a parent spends with the child. They look to see whether or not the parent is aware of the child’s likes, dislikes, or needs.

How the child feels about the parent also matters. If it can be demonstrated that a positive relationship exists between parent and child, then that is a plus for the parent seeking custody.

Willingness to Co-parent

Courts like to see parents who are capable of working with each other in the child’s interest. They note effective communication between parents and whether they can make critical decisions involving the child.

It is good if they support the child’s relationship with the other parent. Following court orders and custody agreements is very important. Good co-parenting has an influence on custody.

History of Abuse or Neglect

Any history of child abuse or neglect will be taken very seriously. The courts will check for any reports of abuse or neglect. The court wants to be aware of how the parent has dealt with such issues in the past and what steps they have taken or are taking to ensure that they do not occur again. A history of abuse greatly hurts a parent’s chances of getting custody.

Ability to Meet the Child’s Special Needs

This is applicable in cases where children with special needs are involved. Courts determine whether a parent is able to understand the needs of the child and if they are ready to provide them with the right medical care or therapy they need. This also extends to how well they are working with doctors, teachers, or therapists. Parents who are able to satisfy these needs stand a better chance of winning child custody.


Parental fitness in custody cases is determined after taking several factors into consideration. The courts want to understand the ability of each parent to take care of the child so that the child will be safe and healthy.

The points mentioned in this article are valuable for those going through a custody battle. If you’re involved in a custody case, focus on showing how you can give your child the best care possible.