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Q: What are the main factors the court considers when deciding child custody cases? The Court considers several factors in deciding which parent is awarded custody of the children, and nowadays it is no longer automatically granted to the mother. A custody trial essentially surrounds several elements called The Albright Factors which focus the courts attention on important considerations involving both parents, and they are as follows: age, health and gender of the child; who was the parent having primary care of the child prior to separation of the parties; who is the parent with the best parenting skills; what parent has the strongest emotional ties with the child; the moral fitness of each parent; employment of the parents and which is least intrusive to parenting; physical and mental health of each parent; home, school and community record of child; preference of the child – if at the age to express a preference (12 years); stability of each parent’s home; relative financial situation of each parent; any differences in religion; personal values; lifestyle; and finally other factors relevant to the child-parent relationship. This is not a clear and simple formula, and each is not given equal or one greater value than the other, in fact, a Chancellor has great discretion in making a determination of which is more important to consider when weighing these combined factors to determine who has custody. Custody battles can be challenging, and it is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney such as this firm should you have further questions. As seen in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal’s “Ask a Professional.”   

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