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The role of a parent’s income in custody decisions

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2022 | Child Custody, Family Law

When Tennessee parents are involved in disputes over custody, they might be concerned about the way their income can affect the outcome. For some, the concern might be about whether they can afford to pursue a custody case, including hiring legal counsel. For others, the concern might be about how the court will decide custody when they compare their income to the other parent’s income.

Is income a factor in custody decisions?

While courts do consider parental income when making child custody decisions, this is done regarding a parent’s ability to meet their child’s needs. Additionally, because there are many other factors involved in the final decision, having a lower income does not automatically mean that the other parent has a better chance of winning a custody dispute. As well, if the court decides to award custody to the lower-earning parent, it might also award child support to that parent to ensure that the child’s needs are met, and their standard of living continues.

What other factors are considered in custody decisions?

Child custody decisions are about protecting the best interests of the child. Therefore, besides each parent’s financial situation, the court will evaluate many factors related to the child’s life and relationships. Some of the factors can include:

  • The emotional stability of each parent and their capability for taking care of the child
  • Each parent’s physical well-being
  • Who the child prefers to live with
  • Which parent was primarily responsible for childcare in the past
  • A parent’s history of alcohol or substance abuse
  • Proof of domestic abuse, child abuse, abandonment of the child or neglect
  • The relationship between each parent and the child

While finances do play a role in custody decisions, there are many other factors that are taken into account. In the end, it is important for a parent to show that they are looking out for their child’s best interests.