If you are a parent considering divorce in Mississippi, one of your biggest concerns may be how the court will determine child custody. While historically the court may have favored the mother, that is no longer the case. The strongest consideration will be the welfare of the child or children in question.

In order to determine custody, whether it will be sole, shared or another arrangement, the court will look at a variety of factors.

What will the court look at?

Here are six important factors outlined by the Mississippi Bar that the court will consider when determining custody:

  • Which parent has been the primary or continuing caretaker
  • Each parent’s employment situation
  • Each parent’s knowledge and parenting skills
  • The age and mental and physical health of each parent
  • Emotional ties between parent and child or a child’s preference if they are 12 or older
  • The sex, health and age of the child

There are other factors that the court may consider, and each situation will be different and individual. What it will really come down to is what the court deems is in the best interests of the child or children.

What other relevant factors might there be?

Even if a parent seems to check off most of the above boxes, if there is evidence of any violent behavior, that will outweigh any other considerations. The court may also consider things like the separation of siblings. In many cases the court will favor keeping siblings together unless there is strong evidence that separation will be in the best interest of each child. The court may award joint custody of children, in which case both parents will have authority to make decisions regarding the child’s health, education and welfare.