Determining the child's primary caretaker
A major factor in deciding who gets custody of a child after a divorce is the determination of who the primary caretaker is. This is the parent who not only does the majority of child care tasks, such as shuttling to school or cooking meals, but also the one with the closest emotional bond. If the two parents are able to come to a mutually agreeable decision on their own, then the courts need not intervene (they will simply approve any reasonable plan).
However, courts will consider a number of factors to decide who the primary caretaker is when there is a dispute. Specifically, the court will want to know which parent handles the following types of parenting tasks:
- Bathing, grooming
- Planning and cooking meals
- Health care decisions
- Teaching basic skills, such as reading, and helping with homework
- Planning and participating in recreational activities