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Factors Judges Consider for Child Custody Determinations - Part 6

This 20 part series tracks what Judges consider in child custody cases.

Factor #6: The moral fitness of parents.

Check the other parent's traffic record to see if he or she has a history of excessive driving, running red lights, etc. In the event that the other parent has a traffic infraction history, pull the police reports to determine vital information such as whether there were any children in the vehicle.

Run a criminal background check on your child's other parent to determine whether the parent has been convicted of any crimes in a reasonable proximity in time to your divorce, paternity or modification of child custody case.

If the other parent has a problem with drinking alcohol, taking illegal drugs, taking prescription drugs without a prescription or is doctor shopping to obtain multiple prescriptions of drugs such as pain killers, it can affect his or her ability to parent. There are reputable private investigators that specialize in gathering evidence of drug and / or alcohol use. You can motion for a drug test and should know of the pros and cons of different sample sources (urine, blood, hair) as well as different panels of testing (the most common tests are 5, 9, 10 and 14 panel tests and a special alcohol ETG 80 hour urine test). It is important to specifically request the test that is best suited for your child custody case.

If you are concerned that the other parent will make a false allegation that you, voluntarily submit to a drug and / or alcohol test. It is important to appear at a lab that is credible with your particular Family Law Judge, produce valid identification, submit to an observed collection for the test, ensure that the staff notes in the record that valid identification was produced and the collection was monitored at all times.

There are numerous other factors that can be considered in reference to the moral fitness of a parent. The consistent use of foul language in the presence of the child can be a bad influence on the child. It can be harmful to a child to introduce a boyfriend or a girlfriend shortly after the breakup of the parents or prior to the divorce of the parents. It is poor decision-making to have sex in the presence of the children and can promote promiscuous behavior in children.  Create a journal to track the behaviors of your child's other parent.  

The key element when presenting evidence on the moral fitness of a parent in a divorce or child custody case is the nexus between the behavior of the parent and the well-being of the child.

Learn more, see Part I of this series.    

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