A family court judge must make decisions based on what is best for a child, but these cases can be emotional. Gender bias, a lack of time for evidence, and each parent’s unique story can lead to a judge making a decision that is not in the best interest of the child.

In many jurisdictions, courts will work to achieve custody that is in the best interests of the child. This can include shared custody or a combination of sole and joint physical custody. This can be achieved through both parents agreeing to the custody plan and being able to show that it is in the best interest of the child.

Some states allow children to state a preference about which parent they want to live with. This is called a custodial preference and is a good idea. However, the court can override it if it is not in the best interests of the child.

If a judge believes that the custodial parent is unfit, they may order the parent to participate in psychological assessments or counseling services. This can help them understand their own behavior and determine whether they are able to be a good parent for their child.

Sometimes, a mental health crisis or a parent’s drug or alcohol addiction can cause them to become unable to care for their child. This can result in an order for monitored visitation, mandatory drug testing or other measures to prevent future harm.

The court will be particularly concerned about parents’ mental well-being in child custody cases and will likely consider their medical history. If a parent has an ongoing mental illness, such as a psychotic disorder or overwhelming stress, a judge will likely require them to undergo therapy and attend counseling sessions as part of the parenting plan.

Another measure the court can take in child custody cases is to impose additional financial requirements on a parent who is accused of abuse. These requirements can include paying for any medical costs associated with the alleged abuse.

These extra costs can make it more difficult for the abuser to afford living expenses and can even force them to sell their home. These extra costs may also be added to the child support payments that a parent is required to pay in cases where a child was removed due to allegations of abuse.

A parent who is accused of abusing their child can face serious criminal penalties that can impact a person’s life and ability to maintain their daily activities. This can include difficulty obtaining employment, opening a bank account, and securing a mortgage or car loan. These long-term consequences are why it is important to consult a reputable divorce & family lawyer in Miami when facing child abuse charges.